Some events in past stay and some are forgotten, the ones making an impact or a change comprise of history. Like my professor at architecture school would say ‘history’ is nothing but HIS-story. It is the past that is documented and written down. History is more than just the cradles of civilizations, development, culture, art or architecture. History is People. People who made a significant difference sometimes progressive and sometimes bad. But a change notable.
Today, we acknowledge their contributions in shaping the world by building in their name. Museums, memorials, victory towers and exhibitions ensure we remember our people. The architecture for the dead keeps the story of victory, sacrifice or love alive. The work of architecture isn’t primary but the emotion it emphasizes, becomes the hero. Every historic event elicits an emotions and this is expressed through the built.
Daniel Libeskind tried to elicit the pain of the Jews to the visitors at the Jewish Museum, Berlin. Every space had a story to tell. A story of separation, pain, agony, displacement, loss, misery and the unidentifiable of all ‘I?’. Every visitor experienced the unstable metal being of the Jews after war with the most simplest triggers light and dark, balance and sound. A straight flight of stairs reaches to a large blank wall exiting to the various display galleries. Displays with toys of little babies who live no more, letters that a father wrote to his daughter, a sweater knit by a mother filled ones heart with grief. Thousands of metal faces screeching out in pain in a spread on the floor of a 5 floor high tower loud enough to appal. It’s not a museum that displays evidences from the genocide but the impressions of horrifying situations of wrench.
Architecture should be sensitive to people and to life, everything else becomes secondary.