MEMORIAL TO THE MURDERED JEWS OF EUROPE – Peter Eisenman

  • Architect: Peter Eisenman
  • Built in: 2003-2005
  • Location: Berlin, Germany

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was built in the centre of Berlin according to a design by Peter Eisenman and was opened to the public in 2005. It consists of a field of stelae covering an area of 19000 sqm and containing 2711 concrete blocks.

Shape – The shape of stelae is evident and rational: the concrete slabs are identical in their horizontal dimentions, each 95 centimeters wide and 238 centimeters long, but they differ in height, starting from zero to 4 meters. They look like sarcophagi with no name or inscription on them because the intention is to convey a sense of anguish, loss and cancellation of any trace of humanity.

Math – The design of the Memorial is based on a rigid grid structure which extend between two undulating plans. The way these two systems interact create a zone of instability between them. The 2711 blocks are planned to make the visitor disoriented: when he moves around he feels solitude and confusion in the middle of an ordered and inflexible structure. The irregularities of the ground suggest that when a rational and ordered system grows too large, it loses touch with human reason.

Displacement – The blocks are arranged in a precise rectilinear setup and present long, straight and narrow alleys between them, along which the ground undulates. The different heights of the stelae create a waving movement as if the place were covered by a shroud. Moreover, in the monument there is no centre, no end, no way in or out. The visitor experiences the foolishness of an open labyrinth.

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