The Bologna Shoah Memorial designed by the young studio SET Architects is many things.
It is a study of the context, it is a recovery of the historical testimonies through interviews with relatives of those who were deported, it is literary inspiration guided by the unforgotten passage taken from Primo Levi, “you who live safe in your warm houses, you who find warm food and friendly faces when you return home, consider if this is a man”.
Lastly, it is a reflection about space and how it can affect the human existence.
It was created thanks to the wishes of the Bologna Jewish Community to donate a new symbolic place to the city and thanks to the work of Lorenzo Catena, Onorato di Manno and Andrea Tanci.
The Memorial is an imposing sculpted object comprising two blocks ten metres high and wide. From the outside, they appear to be solid and compact, dark objects that we expect to meet at the end of the world.
Inside, to the contrary, they empty: «the slabs lined with Cor-Ten steel form a grille that is reminiscent, in obsessive repetition, of the shape of the beds in the concentration camp dormitories».
By daring to walk between the two blocks, our feet meet the stone chipping floor so typical of the railway ballast, our body sees and perceives the space narrowing as you move forward. Thought, the only thing that can fly when the body is forced into captivity, can only gather into quiet solitary reflection.
The Memorial is located between Via Carracci and the bridge on Via Matteotti: the relation between architecture and context provides meaning to an existing place with no function, to make it a reference point and an invitation to reflect.
The story has been written by Ginevra Lamberti, writer.