Arditti + RDT Arquitectos complete reflective space in Museum of Memory and Tolerance
The Museum of Memory and Tolerance has been constructed using a mixture of reinforced concrete and steel in a seven level structure (three of permanent exhibition space and four temporary). It is set on a continuous colonnade of the Plaza Juarez complex, designed by Legorreta + Legorreta Architects on the site of the former Hotel Alameda (which fell during the 1985 earthquake).
Arditti + RDT designed the Museum with the rooted belief that the only hope for humanity lies in the education of future generations. Therefore, the main force behind the conceptual idea of the Museum is sustaining the ‘floating' Children's Memorial. In order to anchor this main motif of the interior atrium, the volume that contains Memory and Tolerance is displayed like two open arms embracing the Children's Memorial.
This Memorial has two interrelated intentions: remembering approximately two million children who have been exterminated in genocides, and educating our children to foster future coexistence among all people. On the interior atrium, the different functions of the building are read as independent volumes. The Museum's Permanent Exhibits (Memory and Tolerance) are held behind the exposed concrete ‘L' shaped mass. A wooden box holds the Auditorium, which cantilevers over a ramp that leads towards a sunken Children's Educational Area. At the same time, its top serves as a base to host the Temporary Exhibition Hall, which attracts visitors through a recessed transparent enclosure.
The Administrative Space is held behind a dark granite element, separated from the upper main exhibition area by a glazed gap that integrates an Educational Center linked by a transparent ramped corridor to a Public Library within the colonnade overlooking the Juarez Plaza.
Transitioning from Memory into Tolerance, the visitor is temporarily taken outside to the Atrium into the olive skinned Children's Memorial (created in collaboration with the Dutch artist Jan Hendrix) within a naturally lit space, where a cascade of 20,000 ‘tears' symbolises the victims - one for each 100 vanished souls. Exiting the Memorial, the visitor moves down a staircase above the open space and into a crystal walkway. A mural by the Mexican artist Gustavo Aceves marks the re-entry to the permanent exhibition on Tolerance on the third floor.
Enabling to make a final reflection, a secluded, quiet introspection space was created in collaboration with the late Mexican artist Helen Escobedo (recipient of the National prize of Art and Science 2009). The space is a minimalist room of tall proportion where a suspended ceiling/platform moves constantly downward and upward.