Team Raff’s Arc of Memory Design has been selected for the Memorial to the Victims of Communism.
Team Raff's Arc of Memory is a dynamic living calendar, designed to capture the many, many moments of suffering and injustice to be commemorated, in solace and in gratitude.
Over 4000 bronze rods are arranged along 365 slender posts, each one pointing at a unique angle of the sun, for every hour of every day, across a year. The memorial is divided in the middle at the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, inviting visitors to step through in a metaphorical journey from darkness and oppression to lightness and liberty.
At a distance, the sculptural array of bronze rods expresses the vastness of the suffering of individuals under communist regimes. Up close, the memorial invites visitors to reflect on their own experiences.
Ultimately the memorial invites people to bring forth their own ideas and thoughts, to walk their own path and recognize each other in a free and welcoming country.
Paul Raff, Artist and Architect, Paul Raff Studio Incorporated
Michael A. Ormston-Holloway, Designer and Certified Arborist, The Planning Partnership
Brett Hoornaert, Landscape Architect, The Planning Partnership
Luke Kairys, Landscape Architect, The Planning Partnership
The Memorial – Instrument of Memory
For the Memorial to the Victims of Communism by Paul Raff and his team have created a design that honours the 8 million Canadians who trace their origins to countries that suffered under communism.
The design of the Memorial reflects the team’s conceptual approach, presenting an emotional and sculptural work that will serve as an instrument of memory for the very wide range of people who suffered under oppressive communist regimes and who found refuge and a new life in Canada.
The Memorial is a three-dimensional “calendar” that captures every hour of the day, for every day in a year, by giving substance to the angles of the sun. It commemorates all the potential moments in time relevant to its themes and visitors. This allows for reflection on both historical events and personal experiences, from the moment a family member was unjustly imprisoned, to the day a refugee finally reached their new home in Canada.
The focus of the Memorial is a sweeping, dynamic sculptural array, 21m long and nearly 4m high, oriented to open to the north. The sculpture is split along the north/south axis, and is divided into east/west sections. Along its length, a fine vertical “veil” of 365 stainless steel fins supports 4412 bronze rods. Each rod is 1.2m long and describes a unique angle of the sun, one for each hour of every day in a year. The Memorial sculpture sits on a limestone plinth, with cascading steps that rise from the paved forecourt that serves as the gathering area.
The Dedication Message, Donor Recognition and Mosaic of Names are presented as bronze panels on freestanding stone walls, integrated into the Memorial design. The Dedication Message faces the gathering area, presenting a focal point for public commemorative events. The Donor Recognition and Mosaic of Names are located to the south of the Plaza, to be seen against the backdrop of park and river views, anchoring the less formal and contemplative side of the Memorial.
The Gathering Area and A Place for Contemplation
Our design presents a formal monument in a mature park setting, enhancing this long-established urban tableau with new and unique landmark .The memorial’s welcoming form will be highly visible from Wellington Street and from within the park. The dramatic form of the memorial will integrate with and complement the suite of contemporary monuments currently being added to the National Capital Commission Region.\
The Memorial’s powerful form reflects the horrific magnitude of wrong-doing. At the same time, its approachable form conveys a deeply elegiac and somber tone, drawing us forward in history by invoking gratitude and optimism for the present. It creates a meaningful gathering area intended for contemplation, offering a place for community and individual mourning.
The Memorial is composed with planted landscape accents, which frame an elegant backdrop for gatherings to the north and east side. Understated plantings along the east and west side of the Memorial seamlessly unite the crisp geometry of the limestone plinth with the naturalistic design of the park. Project lighting subtly illuminates the Memorial during the evening, and is designedto be environmentally efficient and appropriate for this setting. All areas within the Memorial are universally accessible from the existing park path system. All materials within the Memorial are extremely robust.