MH17 Memorial : Garden of Fallen Flowers

Project Tittle : Garden of Fallen Flowers (2015)
Site : IJmeer Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Type : Open Ideas Competition, MH17 Memorial + Park
Organizer : Matter Better (UK)
Design Team : Yasmin Rahman & Qhawarizmi Norhisham
Affiliation : [SA]2

An international open ideas competition for young architects and students was initiated to remember and honour victims of the MH17 tragedy, which has happened over the skies of Ukraine. This man-made tragedy has influenced thousands of lives in direct or indirect manner across the entire world.
This competition aimed to explore and research possible themes and directions of the Memorial representation and its integration into the public space. The wide spectrum of solutions which were proposed by participants were extremely inspiring. From 293 worldwide submissions, an international jury, represented by architects, university professors and artists, has chosen the winners. First, second & third place was awarded to United States, Canada and United Kingdom respectively. Our proposal, Garden of Fallen Flowers earned the top spot on the list of Honorable Mentions.

Garden of Fallen Flowers 450197

298 perished. Each totem celebrates individuality, unmasking the blanket of the tragedy and to mourn the mishap individually. The array of totems surrounds a circular translucent pavilion floating above the water surface that houses the programs dedicated to peace education in regard to the tragedy. Visitors travel to the pavilion via rowing boats, a spiritual ritual through the forest of totems. The visitors bring with them flowers to be hung on totem poles. When visitors pass by these totems, kinetic energy is generated from the waves and increases the intensity of the light. The inner metal tubes of the totems vibrates as it sways due to the waves creating a melancholic melody. The higher the number of visitors, the more friction happening, the more melodies we hear. Each visit gives a uniquely different experience to the users. The fallen flowers cover the surface of the Cold Harbor water creating a new landscape above it, transcending the possibility of what park typology could be. A landscape that appears and disappears, a landscape that dilutes the edge of reality and illusion. Representing the fragility of life. A garden. A garden of fallen flowers.

Jury Comments:
Strong, beautiful, and expressive presentation. Circumstantial sorrow where Amsterdam disappears and the installation emerges in silence generating a new atmosphere, a solo symphony. The architecture does not float above the water but it is, instead, “grounded in the water” and in contrast with the totems which float and indistinctly lead the visitor to the central pavilion. The masterplan is a 7‐sided composition: it would have been useful to understand a bit more about this choice and the connections made within it. Finally, the visitor is up for surprising and ever‐changing layouts of variable light’s intensities and flowery water. This performance is rather fascinating and it is a metaphor to human feelings and how they can vary and interchange through time, proximity, distance and the possibility of expressing one own state of mind publicly.
– Cristina Cassandra Murphy (US), Owner XCOOP, former OMA
By not entering the site in a conventional manner from a specific point, the proposal places the visitor within the memorial which seems to envelop them. Instead of walking on stable ground, to view the memorial one is always slightly unstable and in motion, floating above the surface of the water. Placing flowers into the memorial itself requires an act of balance, of having to reach out from the vessel, and having the flowers eventually fall into the water serves as a poignant reminder of the tragedy.
– Erik Schuldenfrei (US) – Founding Partner ESKYIU, Assoc. AIA, Ph.D.
Highly poetic interpretation of the task of giving mourners a place of commemoration, giving consolation in a mystic way; simplicity is surprisingly convincing; strong heptagonal lay out refers subtly to classic examples in architecture; could be realized in different circumstances in definitive MH-17 design; beautiful rendering and empathic motivation.
– Dr. Wim de Wagt (NL) – Art historian & Architectural Critic, Author of the book Art of Remembrance
Technology and transition was perfect used as a for of transforming the memorial into a place of perceptions and going beyond the fiscal place. This “ocean of light” that the visitant goes through before he entres the building manages the sentimental transition from the city to the memorial. And the technology used in the totem, to change the light according to the use is a very good responsive way to apply new faces of newer approach of the architecture.
– Juliano Monteiro (BR), Director of Juliano Monteiro Studio.

Honorable Mention MH17 Memorial + Park Competition [International]
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Organized by MatterBetter.
2 February 2015
Matter Better MH17 Competition Honorable Mentions

Top 50 MH17 Memorial + Park Competition [International]
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Organized by MatterBetter.
25 January 2015
Matter Better MH17 Competition

Published 2nd February 2015

Matter BetterTM
Official Matter Better website

Architecture Malaysia – AM Magazine
Volume 27 Issue 2; page 68
April 2015

 In memory & in our prayer, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 AMS>KUL 17 July 2014.