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10 Inspiring Modern Memorials

The winning design for Norway’s July 22nd Memorial is one of many poignant architectural metaphors for loss. Here are nine more memorials that use modern architecture to pay respect.

1. July 22 Memorial (Hole and Oslo, Norway): Designed by Jonas Dahlberg

Visitors to Hole will walk across a forested peninsula before encountering Dahlberg’s design; the names of the victims will be etched in stone across from the viewing area, out of reach. Photo courtesy of Jonas Dahlberg Studio and KORO/ Public Art Norway.

Capturing the complexities and emotions of tragic events represents an incredible challenge for designers and architects. Based on the initial feedback for Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg’s proposal for the July 22nd Memorial in Norway, it appears that he’s struck the right chord of commemoration and catharsis with his stunning yet simple concept, a literal cut slicing through the soil, symbolizing something which can never be recovered.

It’s been reported that nearly one in four Norwegians knew someone affected by the 2011 Otoya massacre, when extremist Anders Behring Breivik set off a bomb in Oslo and shot and killed nearly 70 people, mostly teenagers, at a youth retreat on the island 45 minutes west of Oslo. Dahlberg’s design, “Memory Wound,” the unanimous winner of the government-sponsored design contest, features an 11-foot chasm (the excavated soil will be used to create another memorial in Oslo). His poignant design recalled the work of other designers, who grappled with the incredible challenge of creating a physical representation of loss.

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