The Emanuel Nine Memorial by Handel Architects

Jul 26, 2018 / News

Memorials for mass shootings and other acts of terrorism have proved subjects of controversy in the past, with the reasonable calling into question of the specific means by which the victims of a tragedy are paid tribute, or the mere fact of there being a tribute paid at all: for example, the status quo response of Norwegians to a proposed memorial for the 2011 Norway Attacks was, essentially, that the horrible thing should be forgotten and moved on from. For this reason, of which a firm of the caliber of our friends at Handel Architects are undoubtedly acutely aware, such projects must be undertaken with thoughtful sensitivity. Survivors and family members of survivors of the Charleston church shooting engaged in close dialogues with the creative team as regarding how best to pay tribute to their fallen friends and family members. The design of the memorial, informed by a wish for unity and repair in the face of blind hatred, takes the form of two fellowship benches facing each other; an opening between them widens towards the entrance, welcoming strangers to enter and join in an intimate commune. The benches high backs arc up and around like wings, providing a sense of enclosure and comforting enveloping.