SHA wins Terezín Ghetto Museum Competition

In partnership with Marcela Steinbachová and SKUPINA Studio, Steven Holl Architects won first place in the international competition of 22 teams for the Terezín Ghetto Museum in the Czech Republic. Terezín, founded in 1780 as a military fortress, served as a Jewish Ghetto during World War II where an estimated 33,000 people died. The existing Terezín Ghetto Museum honors the individuals whose lives were taken during this tragic moment in history, and the new design will be a memorial of hope and light.

Tower of Light, a new addition, is a contemplative space to experience spectral light phenomena from daylight refracted into a spectrum of colors—the colors of humanity. At night, the Tower glows as a beacon through the darkness. The Tower of Light recalls “Moon Landscape,” a drawing made by Petr Ginz. Born in Prague on February 1, 1928, Ginz was deported to the Terezín concentration camp where he made this imaginative drawing of a view of the earth from the moon. In 1944, Ginz was deported to Auschwitz and gassed to death at the age of sixteen.

The Tower of Light is a hopeful new presence in the center of Terezín, gently ascending above the surrounding buildings toward the sky. The design also includes a renovation of the existing museum and exhibition design, new parks and green spaces surrounding the site, updated parking, and a new information center.

Image captions:
1: Aerial view of Terezín
2: “Moon Landscape” by Petr Ginz
3-4: Watercolors courtesy Steven Holl
5-6: Drawings courtesy Marcela Steinbachova (@marcela_steinbachova) and SKUPINA Studio
7: Interior model with prismatic glass
8: Rendering by (Michal Nohejl)