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Adjaye Associates designs memorial for Cherry Groce, who was shot by British police

The Shape of Justice

Adjaye Associates designs memorial for Cherry Groce, who was shot by British police

Rendering of the Cherry Groce Memorial in London designed by Adjaye Associates (Courtesy Adjaye Associates)

Adjaye Associates has unveiled the design for a memorial in honor of Cherry Groce, a British victim of a police shooting that sparked the 1985 Brixton riot between residents and police officials.

The memorial, which is scheduled to begin construction this summer and open this fall, will stand in Windrush Square, a public space in Brixton, the area of London where Groce lived when she was shot. Since the late 1940s, Brixton has been home for a significant number of British people of Afro-Caribbean descent, and the African and Caribbean War Memorial and the Black Cultural Archives both stand next to Windrush Square.

Rendering of the Cherry Groce Memorial by Adjaye Associates
The Cherry Groce memorial will be in Windrush Square in Brixton, London, the neighborhood where Cherry Groce was shot by police. The African and Caribbean War Memorial is visible in the background. (Courtesy Adjaye Associates)

The design’s unveiling comes as protests about police violence against Black people have proliferated across the world, including in the United Kingdom. In 1985 Cherry Groce, who was Black, was shot in her home by police looking for her son. The shooting paralyzed her, and she died from related complications in 2011.

Line drawing of the Cherry Groce Memorial by Adjaye Associates at night
The memorial’s design echoes the geometry of the existing surrounding landscape while symbolically representing Groce’s strength. (Courtesy Adjaye Associates)

The memorial’s design, which features two triangular surfaces, one on the ground and the other held above by a single column, takes formal cues from the angular design of the existing surrounding landscape and echoes the triangle of the nearby African and Caribbean War Memorial. The design has symbolic importance as well; the single column is meant to embody Groce’s personal strength, and plantings on the pavilion’s roof are representative of hope for the future. The ground-level triangle also includes benches for people to sit and reflect.

The Cherry Groce Foundation, founded in 2014, is funding the project and is currently raising money online.

London-based engineering firm AKT II is the structural engineer on the project.

In a statement, David Adjaye, founder and principal of Adjaye Associates, said, “the construction of this memorial will speak to restorative justice and will symbolize that what matters to the community, matters to London and the whole world. This tragedy went too long in the public realm without acknowledgment, and there is now renewed urgency and importance in finally facing this history.”