January 10, 2005
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."