Architects design to remember mass shootings
Architects in Newtown and Norway are designing to remember separate mass shootings in 2012 and 2011.
This week, two projects were announced to memorialize mass shootings that took place on opposite ends of the globe. Today, the New York Times detailed the new Sandy Hook school designed with the memory of the 2012 shooting in Newtown that killed 20 children and six adults. Just weeks earlier, a Norwegian artist unveiled plans to memorialize the 2011 shooting at a youth camp where 77 died and more than 100 were wounded.
While the incidents occurred in separate places at different times, the architects designed with similar values—the need to remember while recognizing that the community's wound would never quite heal.
The Newtown school was designed by Svigals + Partners firm in collaboration with the community and victims' families. Around 500 elementary students are expected to attend the school in 2016. Currently, students are attending schools in an adjacent town or at Newtown High School.
The firm's plans set the school back into the woods with a design that lets in natural light within treehouse-like areas. The opening hallways will be painted with outstretched, embracing arms. Carefully crafted safety measures bear testament to the school's past. Its name and flag will remain, to remember.
Across the Atlantic on a Norwegian peninsula, architect Jonas Dahlberg planned a design to memorialize the Utoya shooting of three years ago. Because nature carries on, leaving no trace of the tragedy behind, Dahlberg plans to cut through the peninsula, leaving a permanent gaping hole that reflects the un-healable wounds felt by the victims' families and country. A tunnel will lead under the land to an opening across the void where visitors can reflect on the victims' names carved in stone.