Congratulations to AECB member, Harry Paticas of Arboreal Architecture who was awarded two RIBA London awards for his Bethnal Green Memorial. This part sculpture and part architecture was designed to commemorate the worst civilian disaster of World War II when 173 men, women and children were crushed to death as they rushed to gain shelter during a suspected air raid to the tube station which was, at the time, in use as an air raid shelter.
Sixty-three years after the event, Harry Paticas noticed a discrete plaque on the tube staircase acknowledging the deaths and after researching the event, decided a more fitting memorial should be created to take into account those who had died, their families and those who had experienced the tragedy and were lucky to have survived.
Following years of research, investigation and the emergence of a charity (Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust) which raised money for the project, the Bethnal Green Memorial was born and was unveiled just before Christmas last year in an opening ceremony led by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.
The hollowed-out solid teak stair powerfully evokes the volume of space in which people died and the ceiling of the stair canopy has 173 holes in it to represent, in light, each of the victims. Bronze plaques give personal testimonials from survivors and victim’s families and there is a bench for those who have just read these to pause and reflect.
For more information and photos click here.