First Mention - Memorial to the Disappeared in Las Piedras city
Primera Mención - Memorial de los Desaparecidos en Las Piedras
A) Description of the competition
The Municipality of Canelones (one of the nineteen provinces which Uruguay is divided into) made a call for design of a memorial as tribute to the disappeared people in Las Piedras City, during the Uruguayan dictatorship (1973-1984). The people being honored are: Omar Paita Cardozo, Juan Pablo Errandonea Salvia, y Fernando Rafael Díaz de Cárdenas.
Municipality is looking forward to recovering the memory as society ethic basis and also as a way to avoid the oblivion, the violence repetition, the abuse of power, discrimination, torture, disappearance of people and injustice.
The memorial will be built at Daniel Call square, an outstanding place within Las Piedras city, being it also an opportunity to set up this public space that counts on high visibility associated to the city centrality. A project for the square remaining areas, that would take place on a second stage, should also be included.
This call is part of a municipality program that prioritizes the idea of make public spaces humane, regarding cultural and sports activities.
A low budget was set for the memorial building and a first Price and two mentions were awarded.
B) Proposal Description
“...embracing heaven from earth...”
00/ THE BEGINNING
The design of this memorial as tribute to the disappeared means on the one hand to build a landmark that becomes a reference to the national and local collective memory and on the other the re-qualification of a special public space within the urban grid of Las Piedras city.
01 / SITE
The memorial is set on a linear square that bordes the railways. Nowadays, this square is unrelated to the city due to a street market. This one will be relocated and extended on the half pedestrian that closes the square on the South
02 / PROJECT / First Stage / THE MEMORIAL
The project utilizes as a metaphorical element three interlocked beams, alluding to the disappeared lives and their common history. This whole piece leans on a triangular folded ground base, composing a dialectic duo: object – support. The link between beams comes from reciprocal structure’s concept, in which a minimum unit is defined by three elements. This spatial disposition creates a surrounded place (of 7.0 x 7.0 x 7.0 metres) to which it is possible to get in and feel an atmosphere for meditation and contemplation.
The relative leaned position of the beam defines an “initial” zone in contact with the ground, related to life beginnings, and an “elevated” one linked to infinite and timeless existence projection of each life.
Both beam´s supports (the vertex on the ground and the other on the other beams) suggest an interaction between balance and unstable, heavy and light, fragile and tough.
Each beam will be of reinforced concrete made in situ. The appearance of some stains, similar to the stony materials features, on the beams’ surfaces will register the passing of time, showing, from the perceptive point of view, a changing image while resistant properties remain unaffected.
Beam measures are 9 mts. x 1.5 mts. x 0.30 mts. wide. In order to make it lighter the interior will have in the core of the geometrical piece layers of concrete foundations.
On the exterior side of the each beam, the disappeared names, birth and disappearance dates will be carved. Letters and numbers will be made in corten steel, and tacked a few inches far from the concrete face
This way, the perception of the memorial varies, depending on where the observer is and day and night lighting.
Considering the beams position in the space, it will be necessary to tilt the body slightly, when entering the central area, placing the person in harmony with the emotional nature of the memorial’s content. In the interior, on the floor, there is a commemorative triangular plaque with names and dates. There is a vase for flowers, gifts, etc. in its centre.
03 / PROJECT / Second Stage / THE SQUARE
The square project intends to improve, from a landscape point of view, the square environmental qualities by physical and visual bounding actions on the surrounding streets.
In the place where the street market is nowadays, a reinforced concrete retaining wall will be built. It will be lighten linearly, and might generate a transition between levels generating one on which people can sit. The existing gutter will be turned into a flowerpot for plants as climbing ones.
Between the memorial and the existing amphitheatre, an osier forest is projected. It will be possible to enter in it through several paths, causing an unexpected pause. The osier plant is a characteristic element of local creeks and streams.
The following linear square sequence is set: Amphitheatre + Osier forest + Memorial