22 July Memorial Site
The invited competition for memorials of the 2011 22 July terrorist attacks asked for a coherent proposal conceptually linking three sites: a memorial at the Sørbråten peninsula on the mainland near Utøya, a temporary memorial in Oslo’s Government Quarters for the duration of its ten to fifteen years of reconstruction, and a permanent memorial for the new Government Quarters.
My concept for the Memorial Sørbråten proposes a wound or a cut within nature itself. It reproduces the physical experience of taking away, reflecting the abrupt and permanent loss of those who died.
The cut will be a three-and-a-halfmeters- wide excavation. It slices from the top of the headland at the Sørbråten site, to below the water line and extends to each side. This void in the landscape makes it impossible to reach the end of the headland. Visitors begin their experience guided along a wooden pathway through the forest. This creates a five to ten minute contemplative journey leading to the cut. Then the pathway will flow briefly into a tunnel. This tunnel leads visitors inside of the landscape and to the dramatic edge of the cut itself. Visitors will be on one side of a channel of water created by the cut. Across this channel, on the flat vertical stone surface of the other side, the names of those who died will be visibly inscribed in the stone. The names will be close enough to see and read clearly – yet ultimately out of reach. The cut is an acknowledgement of what is forever irreplaceable. This experience hopes to bring visitors to a state of reflection through a poetic rupture or interruption. It should be difficult to see the inherent beauty of the natural setting, without also experiencing a sense of loss. It is this sense of loss that will physically activate the site. People will find their way around the landscape surrounding the cut, looking down at the channel and to the names from a higher perspective, or looking out to Utøya, establishing their own private ways of seeing and remembering.
The stone excavated from Sørbråten will be transferred to Oslo and used in forming the Government Quarters Memorials. These designs, for a temporary as well as a permanent memorial, are currently being revised in relation to the ongoing urban redevelopment project for the site.
Commission; Winning entry in invited competition;
Invited competition, winning entry 2014
Johanna Fager (Architect, Jonas Dahlberg Studio), Cesilia Silvasti (Architect, Jonas Dahlberg Studio)
Inby (local Landscape Architect), Hifab (Construction Management), Markus Eek Treeline Consulting (Structural Engineer), DWTeknikk (Building Contractor)
KORO Public Art Norway (Commissioner)