Adjaye Associates reveal designs for The Martyrs Memorial

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Adjaye Associates reveal designs for The Martyrs Memorial
Front Elevation View. Image: Adjaye Associates.

LONDON.- The Martyrs Memorial is a commemoration to all those lost in the fight against terrorism along Niger’s southern and western borders. It is conceived as a monument to those who lost their lives, a tangible documentation of the continuous fight against extremist entities and the soldiers who have fallen in the process.

Located within the heart of the city, the monument bestows the site with a dedicated memorial, new urban plaza and a multi-use civic gathering space. Established on a raised triangular plot, the design leverages its site to create a gently inclined plane framing the monument against the sky to create an experience that removes one from the every day of the city.

As visitors approach the memorial, they are engrossed in a labyrinth of abstraction through a rhythmic interplay of light, shadow and geometries amplified by the form of the 20 meter high pillars. Flanked by a grid of trees on both sides that form a shaded canopy, the colonnade becomes a forest, establishing a sacred space that honors the dead and acts in service to the living.

Each pillar symbolizes the individuals lost, extending towards the Niamey sky whilst grounded and situated in its urban context. At night, beams of light projecting from the pillars become part of the urban skyline, acting as both a beacon of remembrance and a visual guide toward the civic heart of Niamey...

Creating a structure that acknowledges its local Sahelian climate, the ground-level civic space provides a respite from the Niger heat. It is designed for flexibility to allow for multiple uses from the religious to cityorganized events. The undergound cooling labrynth provides air to the main space with the pillars acting as thermal chimneys that mitigate heat build up.

The entire structure is comprised of robust materials that both contribute to the sensory affect, as well as practically stand the test of time, requiring minimum maintenance. Concrete, the primary material, and accent materials such as bronze coloured frames and perforated steel panels, add to both the endurance and durability of the structure. Light is curated into this dark space through geometric perforations to the facade creating a sanctuary punctuated by tessellated shadow...

Since establishing Adjaye Associates in 2000, Sir David Adjaye has crafted a multicultural global team stimulated by the broadest possible cultural discourse. The practice has studios in Accra, London and New York and has completed work in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Adjaye Associates’ largest commission to date, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), opened in 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Most recently, Sir David Adjaye was awarded the 2021 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Royal Gold Medal, the UK’s highest honor for architecture approved personally by her Majesty The Queen.

In addition to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, completed works include Ruby City, a new art center in San Antonio, Texas; the Sugar Hill Mixed-Use Development in Harlem, New York; two neighborhood libraries in Washington, DC; the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in Colorado; the Alara Concept Store in Lagos, Nigeria; and the Idea Stores—two community libraries in London.

Ongoing projects include a new home for the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; 130 William, a high-rise residential tower in New York’s financial district; the new headquarters for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank in Dakar, Senegal; the new Sydney Plaza, a public plaza, community building and artwork in Sydney’s Central Business District; The Abrahamic Family House, an interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi; the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London; and the National Cathedral of Ghana in Accra.

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