memorial for the individual


Sendai, Japan


Feb, 2015


Beomki Lee

" Challenging an archetypal relationship between collective memory and a multitude of traditional memorials, “[ME]morial” presents a new concept in memorial architecture based on the reinterpretation of Freud’s and Bergson’s ideas of memory.

Our traditional memorial architecture has offered only a singular and communal memory to the public, whereas a new memorial architecture, “[ME]morial”, would emphasize the reciprocal relationship between individual memory and the individual, in order to create a physical environment that offers a new way of experiencing a memorial space to the individual. Our current paradigm of memorial architecture stems from a consideration of communal memory of events or figures only. This obelisk-like memorial architecture foregounds a singular symbolic communal memory to multitude and creates a unilateral relationship, whereas [ME]morial offers an experience of individual memories and memorial space for individuals and generates reciprocal relationships.

Furthermore, the focusing only on communal memory in contemporary architectural practice drives immediate curtailment into a single image or rendering. This present memorial architecture misses opportunities for deeper exploration and experience of memorial spaces for individuals beyond the simple representation of memorializing events or figures.

a memorial architecture for victims of the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami in Sendai, Japan. Three spatially different [ME]morials are the starting point for this open-ended project. The goal of the project is to create a new relationship between individual memory and the individuals, such that each individual will have personalized experiences in each [ME]morial. 

This project proposes


This thesis project is proposing three [ME]morials with different spatial concepts. Each of them has been considered according to different current physical conditions. These three [ME]morials function as a starting point for this open-ended project and give a certain direction for
the future at the same time. These three [ME]morials are designed for different types of individual architectural experiences: through air, earth, and water. Architectural-ized space to create a new relationship between individual memory and the individual is projected into air, earth, and above water, and lets the individual have novel experiences in each [ME]morial.


Memorializing in the Air: Floated steel and glass plates are projected into the air based on the existing foundation of the housing of the past on the site. It gives an opportunity for the individual to experience memory of the past.


Memorializing under the Ground: Space of individual memory and path to reach the space are projected underground. Individuals experience individual memory of the past by walking down the steps to the destination under the ground.


Memorializing Above Water: Glass plate are floated above water based on the existing foundation of the housing of the past on the site.