- Name: Romesh Medagoda
- Year: 2019
- Studio: Level V
- University: University of Moratuwa
Architectural Space as a Narration; Remembering the Sri Lankan Civil War and in the memory of all souls lost
Awareness Center for Reconciliation; Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo
Approach to the project
The war which occurred between the LTTE and the Srilankan government forces ended remaining lots of grief to the nation. All Sri Lankan’s happened to be victims of this tragic war either directly or indirectly and there is no need to prove it.
Therefore it is clear that war is a something we should prevent happing again.
As explained earlier, every Sri Lankan was affected directly or indirectly by the war. It means that all the Srilankans are victims of this war. Therefore, when taking each person who was affected by the war, they have a lot to tell about it. They have experienced, more likely suffered from it by their own. Therefore, they all have their own stories or at least something to tell which no one other than them knows.
Considering above facts, the architectural intention is to design a building which makes a stage to tell the untold stories to the general public about agony, pain, suffering and loss caused by the war and to make people realize that war is not something that people should be proud of.
Position: Architectural Space can be modulated to support a story
Formulation of the concept
Base on the above position, the idea is to create a space which gives values to the personal stories that the victims have experienced during the time of war, thus through that to make the society aware of the unseen, unspoken aspects of the war. It is intended to trigger a discussion about preventing the occurrence of another conflict situation and the value of reconciliation to maintain peace.
Based on a position which is that architecture can be modulated to support the stories to communicate the feelings and emotions of such stories, first it is attempted to represent the personal life stories of the victims into lines considering about the two different perspectives held by the victims and outsiders. When considering some random victim’s story, the way that he or she experiences his or her story utterly differs from what the outsider perceives. Below it has been attempted to represent these two different situations on a paper.
On the above image, the left-hand side shows the victim’s experience and right-hand side shows the outsider’s perspective about the victim’s story. As an example, in the first journey, before the conflict began, his life has been determined solely upon his decisions and choices without others’ interventions or other direct forcing factors. It is thus represented by the straight line. Then after with the beginning of the conflict, it has changed. Most of the time he has not been able to take his own decisions and his journey has been directed by outside forces. His life’s direction has always been going under changes. He has faced a lot of challenges and also has been lost in his own journey. He only has had a mere hope about the end of it which sometimes had completely disappeared at all. This journey has ended either at the end of the war or costing his life before the end of the war. But the only person who knows his story the best is himself. People who see this victim’s journey from outside only see a very small part of his journey or nothing at all. Despite all the challenges the victim faced all the suffering he took in a war era, outsiders know only a very little of it and the death gives some proof to the outsiders that this victim has existed and suffered for real. Thus, every victim who suffered because of this war has different stories known only by themselves.
Analyzing these stories what is attempted to achieve through the design is architecturally trying to generate and represent the qualities such as,
- Harsh life experience
- The quality of lost
- The quality of manipulation
- Change of direction throughout
- The quality of discomfort and agony
which victims faced throughout their personal journeys during the conflict period through architecture using the tools such as scale, volume, shapes, lights, textures and etc. And by doing this it becomes an endeavor of conveyance of feelings and emotions of the unseen, unspoken stories of the victims to the outsiders.
Though the design is based upon the position which is that architecture can be modulated to support stories, the story which this design tells can be elaborated through three different narratives as follows.
- Emotional narrative– Generated by the employed architectural strategies such as forms, geometries, scales, volumes, colors, textures and lighting. Appropriate regulation of such strategies would emphasize or underrate the intensity of the emotions making the sense that architecture is attempting to feed a story even beyond the visual and auditory senses.
- Intellectual narrative- Curates about the concept of reconciliation via the exhibits- mostly physical which are related to the victims that would express the viciousness of war and its side-effects.
- Cultural narrative- A behavior-based communication which is generated through the physical reactions and activity of people regarded to their experience of the space and exhibits. Museum visitors themselves become a mode of expression within the particular elements of the museum.
Text description provided by the project author.