Author : Beomki Lee

University : Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Status : MArch, 2014

Advisor : Antón García-Abril

Title : [ME]morial

Challenging an archetypal relationship between collective  [ memory ] and a multitude of traditional memorials, “[ME]morial” presents a new concept in memorial architecture based on the reinterpretation of Freud’s and Bergson’s ideas of memory. [ME]morial emphasizes a new relationship between individual memory and the individuals, to offer a new way of experiencing memorial space. Contemporary architecture’s focus on communal memory has led to the primacy of a single image or rendering. Thus, memorial architecture tends to miss opportunities for deeper exploration and individualized experiences beyond simplistic representations of memorialized events or figures.

This thesis project proposes a memorial architecture for victims of the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, Japan. Three spatially different [ME]morials are the starting point for this open-ended project. The goal of the project is to create a new relationship between individual memory and the individuals, such that each individual will have personalized experiences in each [ME]morial. [ME]morial will serve as a space not only for soothing victims’ wounded hearts, but also for letting people memorialize their individual memories. The project seeks to challenge and extend traditional architectural definitions of memorial architecture.

This thesis project is proposing three [ME]morials with different spatial concepts. Each of them has been considered according to different current physical conditions. These three [ME]morials function as a starting point for this open-ended project and give a certain direction for the future at the same time. These three Memorials are designed for different types of individual architectural experiences: through air, earth, and water. Architectural-ized space to create a new relationship between individual memory and the individual is projected into air, earth, and above water, and lets the individual have novel experiences in each [ME]morial.

There is no boundary for this project. It is open-ended. The spatiality of each Memorial will be different according to both existing conditions of the different remnants and different spatial representations. This [ME]morial project in Sendai will also [ create ] communal memory by spreading out memorial spaces for memorializing individual memories so that, in the future, it will allow every individual to feel both individual and communal mnemonic sensations at the same time.


S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Beomki Lee_ This thesis project is about a new idea of relationship between memorial architecture and individuals, and how the new relationship could be realized through architectural representations.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
BL_ Archiving through photography and video with understanding specific local culture, and artistic sensibility that helps everyone understand my idea.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
BL_ Interdisciplinary architectural culture is the most interesting nature of MIT architecture. It has allowed me to experience in many different areas directly related to architecture, and let me think and find what I really want to focus on. So, experience as much as possible, and absorb what you really want.

S//A : Describe your dream project
BL_ I don’t have clear dream project now, but hope that I will be somewhere with it someday.