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City of Zagreb
City Office for Physical Planning, Construction, Communal Affairs and Traffic


Faculty of Architecture
University of Zagreb


City Acupuncture


Oris - House of Architecture




City of Zagreb
City Office for Culture, Education and Sport


Republic of Croatia
Ministry of Culture

Work title: An architectural memorial for the revolution

An architectural memorial for the revolution. Frenchmen, some more effort if you wish to become republican. "Philosophy in the Bedroom"-Marquis de Sade The architectural memorial for the revolution is a proposal to the city of Paris, France. It is located across the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, site that comprehends and condenses the bourgeois paradigm of the French Revolution. Considering that it is the last triumphal revolution whose program and effects still remains hegemonic we have to assume that our idea of public sphere owes its origin and its concept there. The memorial for the revolution consists of two opposing walls separated from each other by 2.80 meters. Each wall is 65 meters wide and 25 meters high and they have seven rectangular openings located at street level. Each opening is 1.00 meters wide and 2.10 meters high. After each of the openings there is a small room of 2.80 meters wide and 1.40 meters long. Rooms have in turn two rectangular openings of 1.00 meters by 2.10 meters. A staircase of 10 steps connects to another room of 3.00 meters wide and 1.20 meters long located on the opposite wall that likewise connects to yet another 10 steps staircase leading to another room that is directly above the first of the rooms mentioned. This series of rooms and stairs is repeated until the 25 meters height is reached. Above the openings in the acces there are rectangular small openings that visually connect the rooms only with the side of the wall accessed. The stairs on one side of the wall are separated 3.00 meters of the stairs of the opposite wall and the rooms on the access level of one wall are separated from the rooms on the other wall by a trench ground 7.00 meters high and 65 meters long. A restriction imposed solely by architectural constraints determines that exit and access have to be made using the same opening and that observation done through the small openings in the rooms looks only that same. In a careful look at the drawing of the plant of our proposal it is possible to see a double black dotted line reminiscent of that used in cartographic maps to indicate a political border between two countries. When in the territory that border is crossed regardless of its physical manifestation: fence, wall, or a weak brand in the grass, an individual rejects one legislation by obliging himself to the government (and protection) of another. In the same meaning to cross the threshold of one of the openings in the walls is to enter a gap in which by using only architectural elements (openings, stairs, walls) some sort of interstitial space between two political boundaries is created. We could then say that the only public space is that between two borders, and maybe that''''''''''''''''s the paradox of every limit. The memorial for the revolution is metaphorically and physically beyond cultural, geographic or institutional borders by encouraging to confront the idea of the private and the public: those who have entered this "no man´s land" are seen only by those who are already inside. There is a bunker-voyeur possibility to see those who are outside without being seen. And perhaps the most important aspect is that as the disposition of the architectural elements makes surveillance and control practically impossible we argue that, architecturally speaking, the inside of this memorial for the revolution is beyond any kind of regulation or regime but its own.
Work details
Application Number 0000702872
Author Mensa, Manuel , Argentina
Coauthors Etchart, Matias , Argentina
Mensa, Manuel , Argentina
Torres Aguero, Lucas , Argentina

Juror Comments

  • Juror @ 04/08/2015 13:12:58
    An intriguing architectural metaphor of the issue of public space. It reinterprets the relations of public / private / boundaries / limits in strictly architectural terms. As a sort of ‘monument’ to the question of public space, it offers a testing ground to rehearse the duality of public and private / surveillance and freedom / individual and collective.
  • Juror @ 03/08/2015 19:44:29
    Besides the provocativness and characteristic intervention, the project does not seem to provide something compelling.
  • Juror @ 30/07/2015 17:55:19
    Interesting approach to be read as a comment; the amount of work it needs to be constructed is somehow difficult to forget at this phase of architecture. Obvious skills.
  • Juror @ 03/08/2015 22:54:11
    A work using a radical gesture as a poetic argument. The connection to the revolution however remains unclear and as a gesture, it does not make an argument about public space.
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