A submission that depicts a broken stretch of Boardwalk - ruptured and fragmented by an unseen force - has been chosen as the final design for the Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial, bringing an end to a yearlong architectural competition that featured more than 700 submissions from 55 countries.
A panel of judges gathered Thursday in New York - including Daniel Libeskind, the architect behind the planned skyscraper at the World Trade Center site, and James Young of the University of Massachusetts, author of a book on Holocaust memorials worldwide - and unanimously selected the submission entitled "Fractured Landscapes," submitted by Patrick Lausell and Paola Marquez, of Somerville, Mass.
The text of the submission by the Columbia University School of Architecture students described the memorial as a "fractured landscape and a river of light (that) stitch together disjointed surfaces, expressing our hopes for peace."
The design resembles a section of Boardwalk that has been "buckled and broken," Young said Thursday. "It reflects something broken in all of us. ... It's subtle and powerful at the same time. It takes you off the Boardwalk and leaves you on the Boardwalk."
The memorial is planned for the site of a beachside Boardwalk pavilion between New York and Kentucky avenues.
"Fractured Landscapes" was one of two finalists, said Memorial Chairman Rabbi Gordon Geller, of Temple Emeth Shalom in Margate, the other being "Fields of Memory," a design submitted from Jerusalem that resembles a field of grain, each stalk of which would have been lit up at night.
"It has been a long, rigorous and rather complex worldwide process," said Geller, "so we feel a great sense of privilege and relief that (the committee) has finally arrived at a concept that we are confident will be a world-class memorial."
The design, he said, "is very contemporary and very inspiring. ... The Columbia School of Architecture is on the cutting edge of contemporary, world-class design, and the fact that we've been honored to have this is an excellent opportunity for our city and our society."
Committee Co-chairwoman Jane Stark, of Ocean City, said it was "hugely, immensely, amazingly wonderful that we've come to this point."
"It was fascinating how they reasoned their decision," Stark said of the judges, who also included Clifford Chanin, designer of the 9/11 Museum, Wendy Evans Joseph, designer of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., New York architect Richard Meier and Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum. "The design they chose is going to be an extension of the Boardwalk itself."
Still, Geller said, "All we have is a concept. We're going to be working with the architects, and there's going to be a lot of evolutionary back-and-forth. It has to be presented to (several) people and agencies, but as it is, it feels like a wonderful achievement for everybody."
While there have been some questions raised about the appropriateness of the location, "Every one of the judges I talked to said that the Boardwalk was absolutely the only place in the city for this," Stark said. "They understood the aesthetic, intellectual and emotional combination the memorial would have."
Young also backed the planned location at the pavilion.
"I think the Boardwalk is Atlantic City's public face," Young said. "There's already several memorials there, and there's a built-in audience. In the end, people who don't know Atlantic City will learn that. I wasn't sure (myself), but visiting Atlantic City and really seeing the site, I think it's a great site. I think it will be surprising for everyone."
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