Holocaust Memorial

Trip Start Jul 10, 2006
Trip End Dec 10, 2007

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Flag of Germany  ,
Friday, July 14, 2006

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and opened in 2005 on the former site of the Reich Chancellery of Adolf Hitler. There are 2,711 gray concrete slabs or "stelae," equal in width and length but varying in height, arranged in a grid. From the periphery, the place seems like a minimalist graveyard of more or less identical tombs, but as you walk toward the center, the ground slopes downward and you soon find yourself surrounded and dwarfed by these "tombs." As you walk forward in any direction, your visual field is alternately and dramatically compressed and expanded as you pass between two stelae pressing tight on you and then enter an open line extending from end to end of a 5 acre field. This perceptual oscillation is disorienting and nauseating, which is a wholly appropriate sensation given the focus of the memorial.

Note that you can zoom in on the associated map pin for a satellite overview of the memorial, which looks like a rigorous grid from above.
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