The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC) seeks bold plans and daring visions to structure and guide development of the 132-hectare site of Babyn Yar, Kyiv, the international symbol of the Holocaust by Bullets. To enter this open competition, register and submit your proposal by May 15, 2022.
As a result of the ongoing invasion and destruction of Ukraine, the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center has indefinitely suspended the Babyn Yar Masterplan Open Ideas Competition.
Babyn Yar is a complex space. The ravine of Babyn Yar has been used by the people of Kyiv for over 1,000 years. Currently a public park and nature reserve, between 1941–1943 the natural topography of the site was used as a mass grave, and in 1961, a mudslide claimed thousands more lives while further wiping out its natural features. Since then, much of the ground has been leveled, and the city has expanded around and on top of it. Residential districts built both during and after the Soviet period stand directly on top of where these tragedies took place.
Beyond the dozens of traditional memorials populating the park, each commemorating different victim groups, the site itself is perhaps the most powerful container of its history. Babyn Yar today comprises numerous unique and historically specific ecological conditions, from a completely flat, manicured public park with pedestrian boulevards to the steep remains of the historic ravine. While there is a need for structure and coherency, this heterogeneity is an essential quality to the site. Its nature, soils, vegetation, topography, buildings, monuments, ruins, and artifacts do not just represent the history of Babyn Yar; they are that history.
Not simply a site plan, memorial, or museum, what we are looking for is a radical idea for the site and its programming. How can we contribute to the healing of a place which has played host to such horrific events, a bystander to some of history’s darkest moments and greatest crimes against collective humanity? How can the plurality of narratives already inherent to the site be further drawn out, and brought into dialogue with one another? In the absence of traces, how can we give life to the past and make it tangible in the present?
Up to three winners of the competition will each be awarded US$20,000. Winners will also be awarded a fully compensated visit to the foundation in Kyiv and invited to further develop their conceptual proposals in collaboration with BYHMC. Up to four honorable mentions will each receive US$5,000.