Memorial Room at the Houston Holocaust Museum | Houston, TX | 1993
Providing a quiet sanctuary in which to reflect on personal loss associated with the Holocaust, this space is also intended to help those who have been harmed by other acts of hatred and prejudice. The project was the winning entry in a design competition and a collaboration with artists Patricia and Robert Moss Vreeland who produced the art.
The design integrates on three walls art that thematically addresses remembrance, sorrow and hope. Sorrow is represented in the “Wall of Tears” by 600 glazed tiles symbolizing the six million Jews that perished during the Holocaust. The tiles are fastened to a steel frame on an east window allowing direct sunlight to pass between the tiles providing a serenely filtered light. Indirect light also enters the space from a light well above this wall.
Flanking the “Wall of Tears” are “Remembrance” and “Hope” in mixed media that fit within narrow recesses in the walls. Opposite the “Wall of Tears” is the Cemetery Wall consisting of ceramic glass plaques etched with the names of the victims of the Holocaust, relatives and loved ones of local families. A tall narrow window provides light that grazes the surface of each plaque. Programmatic elements of eternal light and sacred earth where accommodated without interference to the essential idea of a single naturally lit space. The design uses simplicity and restraint in integrating art and architecture to provide a counterpoint to the core exhibit of the museum.