Adjaye Associates reveals Martyrs Memorial in Niamey
Adjaye Associates unveils a design for Niger’s Niamey, Le Mémorial des Martyrs, a powerful monument for the West African country
Conceived as a commemoration to those lost in the fight against terrorism along Niger’s southern and western borders, Le Mémorial des Martyrs – the Martyrs’ Memorial – is a new public monument for the West African country’s capital that has just been unveiled by Adjaye Associates.
The concrete structure is designed as a symbol against extremism combining the sculptural memorial with new urban plaza and a multi-use civic gathering space. The 4000 sq m project is set on a triangular plot that is gently sloped, guiding the gaze upwards through the incline and the design’s verticality – while remaining connected to the land through tactile, robust materials, such as bronze-toned frames and perforated steel panels.
The concept is dominated by a forest of 20m tall columns, arranged over a plinth that conceals an abstract labyrinth. This is sheltered responding to the region’s frequent intense heat and the local Sahelian climate, says the architecture team, continuing to explain how the cool air from this part of the structure help maintain a pleasant atmosphere for this new civic space. ‘The underground cooling labyrinth provides air to the main space with the pillars acting as thermal chimneys that mitigate heat build up.’
A grid of trees flanks the composition. A play of transparencies, views, light and shadow define the design. This continues at night, when the memorial transforms with beams of light shining upwards from every column towards the sky – to a design by lighting and sustainability specialists Steensen Varming – creating a beacon of remembrance and hope for Niamey.
‘Through an interplay of absences and voids, the Martyrs Memorial becomes a sacred space – an in-between moment for meaningful reflection on the past and a signaling for a peaceful future,’ says firm founder Sir David Adjaye. §