ELTE memorial place of World War II victims, Trefort-garden
Designer: MM Group Architects: Ildikó Bujdosó, Dénes Fajcsák, Eszter Lukács, Nóra Szigeti (students of Masterschool), János Roth, Levente Szabó (masters of Masterschool) Bronze works: Farkas Albert Typography: Ákos Polgárdi Photos: Ákos Polgárdi, Gábor Sióréti, Balázs Arnóth Client: ELTE Award: BÉK Award of excellence (2015); MÉDIA architectural Award, special Award (2015); Architecture days, Piran, Honorable mention (2015)
The responsibility of a community for its own past and identity cannot be transferred to monuments. Remembering the losses and tragedies that have affected the university’s community seven decades ago can be carried out with the act of recollecting inter- and independent events distant in time, and collective and individual fates. No centralized and clear overall message or narrative is able to elicit this remembrance. Only a memorial has the chance which – depending on the recipient’s openness – can become an invisible part of the location and a dramatic sign at the same time.
Our intention was to make the garden itself the place of remembrance. To leave a sign somewhere or to mark something – is not the same. We tried to designate a space, the same place that was used by the former victims or by today’s academic citizens as a university garden. Scale become the keyword. Our sign became huge and at the same time almost impossibly small. The intervention in Trefort-garden is total (as it connects two streets bordering the campus) and almost imperceptible in parallel. It allows people either to keep a distance (in this case it remains a hardly perceptible stripe on the wall), or to lean close, to understand and remember (when the massive quantity of legible names and data, as well as their spatiality encompassing the entire garden establish a connection to the memory of the victims, more direct than any other sign or expression). The memorial was implemented by the work of the project group that was formed for the realization of the design winning the ÉME Mesteriskola (=Master School) competition.