On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, 7284 group architects propose a sacred processional walk to the visitors of the 1960 Monument of Zaven Khedeshian in Bikfaya, Lebanon. Through this procession, the violent and raw presence of the rock wall's facade becomes a cradle of emotions wherein lay the pain and anger of the Armenian people, ornamented with flowers and candles flickering with the breeze. Each area of historic Armenia that was subjected to the destructive genocide plan would have a representative token. Each visitor can look for his ancestral homeland's token and pay homage. Thus, the dynamic wall vibrating with feelings becomes an element with which the visitor is capable of interacting, turning the wall into an expressive mural.
Against the flow of emotions coming from the rock wall, stands a plain silent wall. This wall acts like a guide, holding historical facts and dates relating to the genocide and gently leading the procession up towards a peak signaled by tall red colored rods. The rods create a tension in the visitor, reminiscent of the epoch of the Genocide. Once the visitor crosses them, he is faced with the first clear view of the kneeling Monument, stretched out to the heavens.
The awestruck visitor is now invited by the gentle slope leading down, towards the Monument. He can approach the Monument and view it from all angles until he reaches the court. He can now climb up towards it and pay his respect. He crosses the water feature on the floor which represents the outpouring of emotions of sorrow.
The hard landscaping in the court creates dynamism, making it a favorable space for all sorts of religious and cultural activities such as the annual rituals for the Srp. Asdvatzadzin and April 24th's Memorial Day.
The court then leads the visitor out. He now has his back towards the Monument. He passes under a cave-like space where the red rods reappear, working as a cleansing process this time. Once the visitor has crossed the cave, he feels regenerated. The processional dynamism of the memorial has ended. He is now facing a pleasant park, a long landscape bathing in light, where one is invited to enjoy their stay watching art exhibitions taking place or simply sitting in the park and enjoying the space. The park flows around the church and turns it into a sort of island catering for people to site at its base.
To preserve a certain neutral stance, the flooring of the procession and the park are of concrete finish, while the processional wall and the stepped landscaping are clad with flamed granite to underline a certain activity. The project is mainly pedestrian but car access is possible throughout, especially for emergencies. Also, on specific days of events, scout marches are possible both on the processional ramp and through the park area.
Competition Entry, Armenian Genocide Memorial, Bikfaya, Lebanon, 2011