Architecture firm Gómez Platero has designed a new memorial to honor those affected by COVID-19. Sited in Uruguay, the monument is made to be an expression of hope in an uncertain time. As the first large-scale monument to the worldwide victims of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project is called the "World Memorial to the Pandemic." It aims to be a space for mourning and reflection that's environmentally conscious and emotionally impactful.
The memorial will be located on the edge of an urban waterfront, accessible only by a long pedestrian walkway. At the center of the platform, an open void to the ocean beneath allows people to observe nature. It is designed to allow a high percentage of the structure to be pre-assembled for on-site assembly, minimizing the impact on the natural environment. The large, circular structure will serve as a "sensory experience that bridges the gap between the urban and natural worlds, creating an ideal environment for introspection."
Director and Lead Architect Martín Gómez Platero noted that “Architecture is a powerful tool to transform the world. It is, above all, a collective and historical reality, made of small fragments which survive over time and become a culture. It is a way to show who we are on this planet. Monuments, too, mark our shared cultural and emotional milestones. By creating a memorial capable of activating senses and memories in this way, we can remind our visitors -- as the pandemic has -- that we as human beings are subordinate to nature and not the other way around.”
The memorial is made to welcome up to 300 visitors at a time (while obeying current social distancing guidelines), allowing for moments of shared grief and solidarity in addition to solitude. “With each project, we carry out,” Gómez Platero continues, “we must create a piece of a better city. Public space is the common space par excellence: it represents us as a collective, and it reflects what we are capable of sharing as a society."
As the firm noted, discussions with the Uruguayan government are currently in motion to choose a specific site. They estimate that once started, the memorial will take six months to complete.