Ian Ritchie Architects

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2015 Sousse and Bardo Memorial design competition

Ian Ritchie Architects and Tim Morgan, sculptor, are pleased that their joint submission for the Sousse and Bardo Memorial design competition, commemorating the victims of the Port El Kantaoui and Bardo National Museum terrorist attacks in 2015, was chosen as the reserve design concept in the event that George King Architects’ winning sculpture is unable to be finalised as was conceived. “The decision ultimately came down to the feedback from the family consultation.” Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The ‘flow of life’ is a running theme throughout the memorial’s collaborative design, which consists of thirty-one unique 316 stainless steel ‘reeds’, each one representing a British national killed during the attacks. They are arranged in an open, curved design based upon the shape of a beached shell near the edge of a sea, and set in a landscape representing waves and life’s continuity. Evergreen ground cover is interplanted with plants which bloom blue, for water, and white to represent foam, at the times of year corresponding with the anniversaries of the attacks.

The judging panel especially appreciated the design’s connection with the environment. Each flexible reed has infills of Schott Duran borosilicate glass rods, effective conduits through which dappled light under surrounding trees is gathered, reflected and refracted into bright patterns. This kinetic memorial uses the natural site – wind, sunlight and shadows – to provide movement.

The memorial’s open design allows visitors to find their own comfortable space for remembrance and contemplation. It incorporates two simple and elegant 12m long curved benches of brushed stainless steel with a 60mm polished edge so visitors have places to sit. The polished edge can be etched or engraved with the names of the victims and/or a dedication, giving a sense of ownership to those affected, and a specific location to place tokens of remembrance, a written message, flowers or objects.