Adjaye Associates has revealed an evocative concrete memorial destined for Niamey, Niger, to commemorate the lives lost to fighting terrorism in the West African country. Le Mémorial des Martyrs (the Martyrs Memorial) will sit on a triangular plot in the center of Niamey, the country’s capital, and act both as a site of remembrance and as a plaza for public gathering and events.
As visitors approach, the first thing they’ll be met with is a grid of 65-foot-tall scalloped stone pillars, each representing an individual (a particularly expressive design statement employed in a number of memorials as of late, including Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, or the more recent National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum).
During the day, sunlight will filter through the 56 columns akin to the trees surrounding the plaza and create a dappled “grove” across the engraved landscape, according to Adjaye Associates. At night, the spires will light up, creating a glowing landmark—especially prominent given that the memorial sits adjacent to Niamey’s city hall.
The Martyrs Memorial plaza is actually elevated and will sit atop a ground-level “Hall,” a multipurpose event space intended to protect guests from the heat. The pillars will also extend down into the Hall, acting as both supports and passively venting warm air to keep the subterranean space cool. The renderings released by Adjaye Associates show a flowing, bare concrete space illuminated only by geometric perforations in the facade, which does raise some questions about how useful it will be at night. Still, the Hall was intentionally kept as empty as possible to keep it flexible for any type of event, and the exposed concrete and minimal finishes (“bronze coloured frames and perforated steel panels”) were intended to cut down on maintenance costs.
Once completed (no estimated date or cost has been provided as of yet), the Martyrs Memorial will span a total of 43,000 square feet.