The New’s Divine Memorial was the first chance I had to apply the design theory I developed which calls to design memorials that do not just remember tragedies, but also become institutions which prevent future human rights abuses. The project I designed was holistic: involving architectural, museographic, graphic and institutional design, as well as a set of audiovisual documents, one involving a forensic architectural recount of the New’s Divine Tragedy. In essence, this Memorial is a publicly funded cultural institution that offers free services such as conflict resolution, sexual health, police training, human rights defense and other workshops.
With a construction budget close to $800K USD and an annual $100K USD operating budget, the New’s Divine is a single room multipurpose space. It is equipped with a retractable light-dimming roof, a 20K lumen projector, a surround sound system, and other IT technologies. The New’s Divine Memorial is the only public space of its kind in Mexico City, catering to the development of its youth. It is also in one of the city’s most culturally marginalized slums: the closest public museum is more than 5km far.
RESIGNIFICATION OF THE TRAGEDY
The diagram on the left represents the definitive moment of the New’s Divine Tragedy: when police forces closed the only exit and caused a bottleneck that suffocated 12 people, mostly underage. On the right, the explanation of how the architectural elements of the tragedy, including key areas and materials, would be recovered, reused and their meanings transformed from tragic accesories to tools for human rights abuse prevention.
The New’s Divine Nightclub was carefully dismantled. Slabs, walls, columns, and other architectural elements were categorized and subsequently re-used to build the Memorial’s walls.
Original graffiti art was recovered, restored and reintepreted. The New’s Divine Nightclub’s original logo was preserved, and it’s door redesigned to be unblockable. Slabs when piled became bleachers.
This architectural language is the result of 28 months of dialogue between victims, NGO's, government and citizens.
A LIVING MEMORIAL
These are flyers made by local NGO's who work with the communities surrounding the Memorial, mostly for disenfranchised youth. The majority of events have a human rights perspective, designed to provide better decision-making tools through culture and education.