Fields of Memory- Atlantic City Holocaust Memorial proposal


“extraordinarily impressive…”; “a stunningly beautiful and moving field” (jury’s comments)

Fields Of Memory: Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial Proposal, 2nd prize winner

The competition:

The Atlantic City Holocaust Memorial Board held an open international competition for selecting a design for the city’s prominent boardwalk. 712 proposals have been submitted from 55 countries. These have been shortlisted to 13 finalists, then narrowed down to 6, and finally 2 finalists were invited for an additional round. SAYA’s proposal- one of the top two entries, was eventually awarded a second prize.

The distinguished jury included: Daniel Libeskind, Richard Meier, Michael Berenbaum, Clifford Chanin, Wendy Evans Joseph, and James E. Young.

The Proposal: Fields of Memory

Our proposal attempts to question the form remembrance should take in contemporary urban contexts, suggesting a non-monumental way of making the absent present, and linking commemoration with leisure urban activity.

The rust-like light stalks -“Shibbolim” (“Rye stalks” in Hebrew) refer to the biblical story of Shibboleth (Judges 12, 5-6) which has become a synonym for hatred on an ethnic or cultural base. The stalks rise to various heights, sway gently in the wind, and produce soft flute-like sounds. They serve as eternal lights- commemorating the loss of millions, yet emphasizing the absence of numerous indivisuals. Their collective presence, motion and sound create the effect of an absent-present crowd which has gathered to testify and tell a tragic story.

Working with a slight rise of the wooden deck, the stalks form an urban garden facing the boardwalk. They also relate to the see grass situated between the boardwalk and the ocean. The contrast between the two somehow blurs the distinction between natural and artificial, life and still-life, present and memory.

A low reflecting-pool at the center of the memorial creates a focal point for gathering, holding ceremonies and laying pebbles as an act of grief. It reflects the visitors during the day, and the stalks during the night.

Rather than facing the ocean, the memorial turns its focus to the city and its people. Situating the seating and gathering areas to face the boardwalk, further accentuates the message that memory and grief are inseparable from life, and that the best way to commemorate loss is binding it with the present.


Fast Company Magazine features a review by Suzanne Labarre, A Singing, Swaying Urban Garden That Memorializes the Holocaust , 13th January, 2011

Trend Hunter Magazine features a review titled Singing Grass Sculptures: Fields of Memory is a Modern Holocaust Memorial, Jan 14th, 2011.

Bustler features SAYA Wins 2nd Prize in the Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial Competition the January 15th, 2011 newsletter

ArchDaily features the 1st and 2nd Prize Winners of Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial Competition, by Irina Vinnitskaya, Jan 18th, 2011

Architecture List features SAYA’s AC Holocaust Memorial Proposal, by N. A. Hilal, Jan 19th, 2011


Linking the lost and the existing, the absent and the present, a site for commemoration with leisure urban activity: We respond to these dichotomies by creating a semi surreal environment, envisioning the memorial as a wild field which seems to have sprung out of the existing boardwalk to surround a reflecting pool.

Fact Sheet

Project: Fields of Memory

Status: 2nd prize winner

Client: Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial Organization

Location: Atlantic City, New Jersey

Budget: undisclosed

Program: An open Holocaust Memorial that would serve as a compelling visual statement and a significant public place.


Design: Karen Lee Bar-Sinai, Yehuda Greenfield-Gilat, Chen Farkas

3D Rendering: Hanan Ben-Shoshan

Video Soundtrack: Harel Shcreiber