Alternative Grenfell Tower memorial design calls out those responsible

Making a List

Alternative Grenfell Tower memorial design calls out those responsible

The husk of Grenfell Tower is still standing, but it may not be for long. (Natalie Oxford/Wikimedia Commons)

British architecture organization Architects for Social Housing (ASH) has published an alternative take on the Grenfell Tower memorial proposed by architecture studio JAA earlier this month. While JAA’s proposal covered the shell of the burned-out building in slabs of black concrete, ASH’s vision covers JAA’s design with the names of public and private officials ostensibly responsible for the disaster.

Rending of Architects for Social Housing Grenfell Tower memorial
Architects for Social Housing modified JAA’s proposal for a Grenfell Tower memorial by inscribing the names of those ostensibly responsible onto the building’s surface. (Architects for Social Housing, JAA)

JAA’s design was put forward by the architects as a conceptual exercise that had no backing from the government. As the architects said in Dezeen, the intent for such a design was to give enduring visibility to the tragedy and to encapsulate the event in public memory so that its lessons would not be forgotten. Reactions were mixed; one minister of parliament scorned it as “misery porn.”

The ASH proposal taps into public outrage surrounding the event. In its aftermath, many of those affected and others across the U.K. accused the local authorities and Prime Minister Theresa May of being insufficiently concerned about the wellbeing of the residents of public housing projects like Grenfell. A public inquiry into the causes of the 2017 disaster, in which 71 people died, started this summer, but no one has been held responsible.