Location next to parliament in London has triggered objections from residents and opposition from Imperial War Museum

A new national Holocaust memorial next to parliament will be designed by a team led by Sir David Adjaye after a competition that attracted entries from some of the world’s leading architecture and design consortiums.

The memorial and education centre will be built in Victoria Tower Gardens, a prime site beside the Houses of Parliament and the River Thames, despite objections from some local residents. The project, to which £50m of public money has been committed, is expected to be completed by 2021.

An aerial plan of the design by Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad architects.
An aerial plan of the design by Adjaye Associates and Ron Arad architects. © PR


The project became embroiled in controversy earlier this month when the Imperial War Museum (IWM) called for the learning centre plan to be reconsidered because it would compete with its own Holocaust galleries, opening in 2020, less than a mile away.

The IWM, which has been the national museum for the Holocaust since 2000, said the learning centre was likely to replicate its own advanced plans for a £33.5m digitally enabled learning and events suite, and the public should be offered one facility, rather than competing educational resources.

Bazalgette said the memorial foundation would meet the IWM in the next few days to discuss ways of complementing one another. “I’m confident we’ll work together,” he said.

The Victoria Tower Gardens site also triggered objections from local residents, who said it was completely contrary to London’s ambition to protect its green spaces.

A letter signed by dozens of MPs and peers, and sent to all members of the House of Lords earlier this year, said: “The gardens are extensively used by residents, visitors to London and the many thousands who work nearby, including those working in the Palace of Westminster. They are an oasis of calm, enjoyed as a place of exercise, play, picnics, sunbathing and dog walking.”

The memorial would “change irrevocably” the character of the gardens, which would cease to be an amenity for ordinary people, it said.

Residents also raised concerns about increased security in the area as a result of the memorial.

The proposal will be subject to planning permission, including consultation with local residents. “Everybody’s voice will be heard. I’m confident that at the end of it everyone will be satisfied,” said Bazalgette.