The ICRC’s physical memorials are sites around the world where staff members, families, friends and visitors can come together in a spirit of openness and inclusiveness. These memorials pay tribute to our colleagues for the vital work they did in providing humanitarian protection and assistance to victims of war and other violence. They are places of memory, hope, shared grief and inspiration, designed to both reflect and preserve the ICRC’s unity in challenging times.
There are two memorials in Geneva: the Garden of Remembrance at the ICRC’s headquarters on Avenue de la Paix; and the Memorial Fountain at our logistics hub in Satigny.
The Garden of Remembrance and its commemorative plaque were inaugurated in May 1998 following two devastating attacks on our staff in late 1996. It is a place for commemoration and quiet contemplation. It is where headquarters staff mark the ICRC’s annual Day of Remembrance. The garden honours all those who died while on assignment and recognizes the humanitarian ideal that inspired them. An expanded memorial garden is under development.
“Imagine a place, on the ICRC hill, where employees and visitors could linger for a moment, sit, reflect and clear their mind. A simple, informal, yet meaningful place. A verdant setting that, more inspiring than decorative, would be an expression of what we want to hold on to forever.” (Excerpt from the 1997 project design)
There are memorials at ICRC sites around the world commemorating colleagues who died while helping people affected by armed conflict and other violence.
The ICRC decided to entrust the design to an architect of national or international renown whose portfolio of past projects is in keeping with the importance of this project. Minimal guidance was provided to the architects to ensure maximum freedom of expression. The selection process favoured designs from different cultures.
The following seven architects were shortlisted:
- Charles Pictet, Charles Pictet Architectes Associés, Geneva, Switzerland
- Jeanette Hansen, 3XN, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Xu Tiantian, DnA Design and Architecture, Beijing, China
- Francis Kéré, Kéré Architecture, Berlin, Germany
- Cazú Zegers, Cazú Zegers, Santiago, Chile
- Shigeru Ban, Shigeru Ban Architects, Tokyo, Japan
- Barbara Tirone, A-Architectes Sàrl, Geneva, Switzerland
The pace of the selection process was affected by the initiative to draw up a master plan for all ICRC premises. This will enable the ICRC to have a better vision of how the premises will evolve over the next decade and how it will fit into the surrounding environment. (ICRC Campus | urbz)
After extensive consultation with staff, bereaved families and a group of ICRC alumni, the ICRC has chosen the Chilean firm Cazú Zegers as its preferred architectural partner.
The forthcoming process will be adapted with elements from the master plan and a clearer understanding of the wishes of staff and bereaved families.
The quality of all the proposals received is to be commended, an overview of which is given below. The architects can have a more detailed presentation on their respective websites.