A Walk through the Floating Island: Regeneration of Life
MH-17 Memorial + Park Competition, Amsterdam was Organized By matterbetter in 2014, which Was an Open Ideas Architectural Competition. “Sthapotik” Participated in the competition and was shortlisted in the top 50 projects.
“The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” Leo Tolstoy.
Amsterdam, originating from a small fishing village to the most important port in the world. Amsterdam is the cultural hub of Europe. In response to the decisive cry for humanity of the MH17 tragedy which takes 298 innocent lives in a manmade catastrophe, an artificial free-flowing floating triangular island to tribute to MH17 victims was inspired by Amsterdam’s contextual influence and opulent culture. The design approach of the memorial plus park on a triangular shape artificial island was developed naturally without disturbing the surrounding context on the Ijmeer Lake of Amsterdam, Netherlands. The floating park will be the new public spiritual heart of remembrance, ceremonies, recreation, and private gathering and proved to serve as the vital point of all the cultural activities of Amsterdam as well as a connecting arm to Old Center, North of Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, most of the heritage sites deal with land design, water engineering and planning. Amsterdam’s canal system planning is a result of conscious city planning. The floating island is encouraged by the realities and conditions on the ground and by the potential of water to inform the new urban water landscape for people of the world. The naturally derived triangular island is characterized by the fluidity that refers to the flowing emptiness in our hearts for 298 innocent lives. Centrally focused triangular shape urban park with axial water channels stimulate from the old Amsterdam centrally developed canal system of city planning. The island has free accessibility from any part of it, experiencing the fluid characteristics of water.
Organically developed linear water channels create three major axis, leading towards the central meeting plaza which strongly maintains the connection among the undulating landscape. The undulation of the landscape forms ten individual zones to represent ten countries directly related to catastrophe at the same time expressing the informality of the park. A ribbon-like flowing elevated ramp within the undulating landscape relate to the variety of emotion that rises in the human mind and bring excitement to daily life.
The central gathering space of the three-axis produces a large flat void space, consisting of a large reflecting pool. A vertical green monument is placed in the center of the pool as a symbol of purity of nature. Altogether it gives us a realization of nothingness.
The park is physically connected by the Amsterdam popular water transport (water taxi/ ferry) from the nearby station. There are three receiving decks along with three peripheries of the island. All the zones and divisions of the memorial are designed to access from anywhere on the island by pedestrian, elevated ramp and water transport as well. The park is also envisioned as a place to experience the spontaneous Amsterdam culture and daily life leisure activities. All the required functions are placed around the central plaza without interrupting the organic development. Basic requirements like a coffee shop, public rest facilities, drinking water supply, bicycle stand, and temporary shades for public gatherings and programs are provided in multiple spaces throughout the park.
A museum is designed under the reflecting pool to represent memories of MH17 victims and relics of the tragedy. The Central void space is created to feel the utter significance of the memorial, floating lamps (Diwali) will float in the reflecting pool on the occasion of Memorial Day. It will be the main location for arranging cultural programs and festivals over the year in Amsterdam.
Nowadays, the globe is passing through an environmental crisis as a consequence of the social and economic unconsciousness of people. As responsible towards the environment, proposed a floating island filled with organic soil, developed by water plants and sorted organic wastage from the city. Which helps to purify surrounding urban water bodies. The island will be a place of remembrance while celebrating the vibration of life to make the world a better place.
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean, if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”- Mahatma Gandhi.