2nd Floor, 138 Jan Smuts Avenue Parkwood Johannesburg South Africa, 2000

Johannesburg: 26.1497° S, 28.0342° E London: 51.5072° N, 0.1276°

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On 22 July 2011, the city of Oslo suffered a vile extremist attack, killing 77 people and severely injuring many more. An attack that highlighted the galling extent to which difference is perceived as a threat. In the aftermath of the attacks, the city galvanised their grief through various forms of memorialisation. Immediately afterwards, the city was collectively mobilized in a spontaneous response to their grief. Nearly one-third of the population participated in a march carrying roses, with government representatives, political leaders, and members of the royal family joining in to deliver speeches and performances amid a sea of flowers. Now, 13 years on, Koro has invited 10 teams out of a long list of 200 teams, to compete for the design of a memorial after the attacks in The Government Center of Oslo and on Utoya on the 22nd of July: A place for commemoration, learning and engagement. Sumayya Vally entered with Suzanne Lacy, and their response builds on the deep knowledge developed in Norway on memorialization and democratic participation in the aftermath of July 22, 2011. They are also particularly inspired by Utoya itself being a site of processing and active memorialisation.

Our project proposes a platform as a monument. Drawing on Utoya - both its beautiful natural landscape, and its life subsequent to the July 22 attacks as a place of processing, education and dialogue, we wanted to work with a monument that is always in process - growing and evolving with the seasons like a natural landscape, host to conversations and projects produced by the people and organisations of Norway. As we walk on the public plaza, the paved blocks give way to a pathway of frosted glass pavers ramping upward, held by the scaffolding structure. Rising out of the plaza like a mountain, we journey up this platform to encounter a series of gardens - changing with the seasons and growing to become part of the ecology of the city.

This metaphorical forest - the scaffold structure that makes up the platform is inspired by indigenous Norwegian methods of nomadic life. Inherent to many indigenous architectures is non permanence - a deep embodiment of our relationship to the planet and its ability to nourish us. These traditions of building are analogous with structures which are made in many communities - in South Asia, across the African continent, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. A scaffold is a support structure, it holds up what we build, and through a grid system evenly distributes weight - creating a platform to both physically and metaphorically provide space for the Norwegian community. It can be extremely strong and durable; yet light, ephemeral and temporal - ever changing. The built environment often asks nature and us to confine and conform. Our design of the platform - with its open and transparent structure - acknowledges growth as part of it - creating both the practical and ecological space for things to expand.

Sumayya Vally and Suzanne Lacy's concept presentation