Competition for the Park of Reconciliation

The Brief:

The Park of Reconciliation

Gardens of Europe Foundation in Oświęcim

Competition for the Park of Reconciliation, design (2005)

Honourable Mention: James Quinton, with graphic help from Sarah May

Designe a PARK… on the right side of the river Soła, opposite to the area of the former Death Camp Auschwitz – Birkenau in Oświęcim

Designe a SYMBOL… a symbol of memory of those who suffered and were killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp.

A symbol of reconciliation of the taking part in the Second World War nations.

A symbol of universal values such as goodness, love, forgiveness


Auschwitz 01

Overview of Design, with Camp in the background.

Responce to brief:

Symbolism – The notion that architects/landscape architects can create strong symbols such as justice, love, compassion and reconciliation presumes a considerable amount of faith. This brief asks for such symbolism in the threshold of Auschwitz concentration camp; death and injustice incarnate.

Instead of ignoring the camp, and then constructing the grounds for the creation of positive symbols, this design attempts to deal with the camp directly. Using Plato’s idea of ‘negation of negation’ we may unearth a design that is ideologically positive. The ghost/blueprint of the camp is taken and then traced. The lines of the camp are then extruded. This is the negative space of the camp. The void where the buildings are not. These lines are transformed into the most suitable position; the disused, gravel infested section adjacent to the camp.


The lines become rows of living, breathing creepers that grow on wire. Our creepers grow by tentacles signifying the flow on effect of compassion and empathy. Left alone, they will grow horizontally to make ground cover. In autumn and spring the lines turn a brilliant red.



Design acknowledges Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial in Berlin


Project Masterplan


Ampitheatre Perspective

Sapling nursery – in the initial stages of design construction a small nursery (located in or near the camp) will be in operation. Saplings may be local or donated by countries from around Europe. Visitors to Birkenau Museum, people from all around the world, and local school children are encouraged to select their own saplings. The sapling symbolizes fragility and rebirth. From the nursery visitors carry their sapling over the bridge across the River Sola in an act of cleansing. The ground within the site is prepared for planting. Over time the trees mature and take on a life of their own; a metaphor for the triumph of life over death.




2 thoughts on “Competition for the Park of Reconciliation

  1. From Lorenz by email (he agreed that I could post):

    I like your Auschwitz memorial project. It just expresses the feeling I have inside when I am in a place where something huge has happened. Going to Gettysburg and standing at the northern most point the Confederates reached where Pickett’s charge was beaten back feels like that to me too. It is like the earth speaks to you in places like that in the kind of language you use in your project. It is certainly not the language of reason or the conscious mind. I don’t know how it would look if your design was built, but I think it would cause me long moments of silence and inward contemplation.

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