A place to remember the Canterbury Earthquakes should be a place for dynamic reflection. It should serve as a place for future learning; a place for memory as well as a place for awareness.
This memorial distinguishes intimate personal grief and a memory of the past from collective mourning and a joined collaboration towards the future. By enlivening the surrounding city with a valuable green space, we seek to encourage recovery and renewal; we try to emphasize the qualities of the Canterbury landscape and create a space which can strengthen the Christchurch community.
The Ōtākaro/Avon river has always been a provider of abundance, sustaining communities for centuries. Its fertile banks are now cultivated as communal gardens; a place for people to meet, to work together; a place of constant renewal. Horticultural therapy can effectively help people to recover from traumatic experiences.
The intimate act of remembering the traumatic events and honouring loved ones is separated from the highly public gardens on the surface level. The vault provides a secluded place for more intensive contemplation, remembrance, in-depth information and reflection. Reflected light from the continuously flowing river illuminates the interior through a slit window. The deeper one progresses, the more intimate the space becomes, resulting in a quiet sanctuary in the heart, where the names of the lost are illuminated on the floor.
in collaboration with Arno Geesink - KRAFT