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Young Architects Designing Memorial to Victims of Madrid Bombings

 

A competition to build a memorial to the victims of the commuter train bombings in Madrid last March 11 has been won by a group of young local architects, who propose to build a free-form glass cupola beside the Atocha Railroad Station, where two of the trains exploded. The group, known as the FAM Studio and composed of architects Esaú Acosta, Raquel Buj, Pedro Colón de Carvajal, Mauro Gil-Fournier and Miguel Jaenicke, all aged 26, won the international competition of ideas over 289 entries and 22 finalists. The competition was sponsored by the Spanish State and the City of Madrid. Second and third prizes and two honorable mentions also went to Spanish architects and designers.

The cupola stands nearly 40-feet high and is engraved with many of the handwritten testimonials that mourners left at the station in the weeks following the attack, expressing solidarity with the victims and denouncing terrorism and violence. At the request of Spain's Association of Victims of Terrorism, the architects revised their initial proposal to engrave the names of the 192 dead in the blasts. The engravings are arranged so as to be illuminated sequentially by the course of the sun through the day and the seasons, and will be lit from within at night.

Details for the project are currently being studied, including the viability of a below-ground meditation chamber under the cupola, which will stand in the center of a traffic island and over a subway station. Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardón expressed his hope to open the memorial on the first anniversary of the attack, but stressed that "more important is that it fully represent the spirit of transcendence we all hope to achieve with this homage."

David Cohn

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