The COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over, but monuments to essential workers, health professionals and, of course, the victims are being conceived and created. The architecture firm GómezPlatero has designed and will build the first monument to the deceased. The “World Memorial to the Pandemic” symbolizes a deep love for humanity and will stand as an emblem of the shared struggle and loss so many have endured. It will be a safe, picturesque space for mourning and reflection that also allows its visitors to partake in the joy of knowing they are not alone.
The firm’s director and lead architect, Martín Gómez Platero, from Montevideo, Uruguay, hopes visiting the memorial will provide a renewing emotional experience. “Architecture is a powerful tool to transform the world,” he explains. “It is, above all, a collective and historical reality, made of small fragments which survive over time and become culture. It is a way to show who we are on this planet. Monuments, too, mark our shared cultural and emotional milestones."
The massive circular structure will serve as an affecting sensory experience that bridges the gap between the urban and natural worlds, creating an ideal environment for introspection. It will sit on the edge of an untamed section of urban waterfront located in Uruguay, accessible only by a long pedestrian walkway that draws the visitor gradually away from the sounds and sights of urban life until they are fully immersed in the presence of nature.
At the center of the platform, an open void to the rolling ocean beneath allows people to observe nature in its most majestic, purest state, reminding us of our own fragility. At 40 meters in diameter, with an open center that is 10 meters in diameter, the memorial can welcome up to 300 visitors at a time (while obeying current social distancing guidelines), allowing for moments of shared grief and solidarity in addition to solitude.