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Memorial Museum- Ho Chi Minh City

Part 1 Project 2014
Daniel Higham
University of Huddersfield Huddersfield UK
The concept of a Memorial Museum strives to explore through design the seemingly dissipating links of a country’s past and present cultural history via a contemporary architectural infrastructure.

Focusing on the era of the American or ‘great’ war, the Museum aims to provoke an emotional response to this period. Imbued with the wish to embody the tensions of below and above and subsequent protection and exposure of the Ho Chi Minh Tunnels the museum explores notions of the tangible and the void as expressions of memory and loss. Proposed railway development south of the Ben Thanh market offers opportunity for the intervention of the museum with the metro. Residing in a shaft above the metro tunnels the memorial integrates itself in a topographical manor reflective of techniques employed during the war. A raw materiality invigorates links with the austerity and emotional challenges faced by its memories, whilst continually offering opportunity’s to contemplate a wars impact in the modern context of Vietnam.

The memorial sits beneath the paving of Ben Thanh, an area of congregation and commerce, announcing its presence with ramped entrances offering indirect and discreet access to its central void. The sepulchral atmosphere below encapsulates a contrast with the bustling life of above, enabling a rare opportunity to reflect and consider. Visitors are offered the choice to transcend the void upon arrival from their platform, a winding ramp prolonging the action of entry, emphasizing the oppression of a country’s recent past. The shard roof and piercing structure are devisable from this entrance ramp, and together aim to evoke uncomfortable memories of the war days.

The subterranean concept manipulates the exposed railway and natural act of convection to create a series of provocative zones reminiscent of various eras of the war. The acts and atrocities themselves unravel through inscriptions within the walls of the central mass, whilst perimeter galleries are reserved for select artifacts. The design infuses an upward journey from the past to the present as well providing a cool sustainable environment through air movement encouraged by the metro tunnels.

Daniel Higham


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