The Tactile of History.
Memorial to the Victims of the Soviet Occupation

Client
  • Valsts nekustamie īpašumi
Industry

The Tactile of History is a commemorative monument linking the present day with tragic historical events: the repressions committed by the Soviet occupying regime against the Latvian people. The memorial’s unveiling ceremony in 2021 commemorated the 80th anniversary of the first mass deportations from Latvia in 1941, when the Soviet regime deported over 15,000 inhabitants. The memorial also honors the memory of tens of thousands of other victims who suffered repressions during the subsequent years of the occupation.

The memorial forms a uniform complex with the future Museum of the Occupation of Latvia in the center of the Old Town of Riga. The memorial serves as a reminder to keep the past in mind so that future generations do not allow the return of totalitarian ideologies.

One side of the memorial is designed in the pattern of a traditional Latvian blanket. The blanket is a symbol of human pain, which is revealed in beautifully designed semantic form, ornaments and color. This side of the memorial faces a broad square, making it a backdrop for official commemorative events and State visits.

Design Studio H2E

Red and light gray granite blocks are arranged in the pattern of a traditional Latvian blanket.

Design Studio H2E

The laconic and powerful message “For Remembrance” is respectfully integrated.

The pattern of a traditional Latvian blanket is formed from two-color finish elements: red and light gray granite. Incorporated into the center of the wall is the image of a wagon, with steps ostensibly leading to infinity, symbolically alluding to deportation echelons. Integrated into the wagon is a simple and powerful message: “For Remembrance.”

 

The other side of the memorial wall faces a narrow street in the Old Town and provides the opportunity to commemorate the victims of the occupation in a much more personal atmosphere. Integrated light and audio elements give the memorial an additional dimension, expanding the horizons of perception.

Design Studio H2E

Red and light gray granite arranged in the pattern of a traditional blanket.

Design Studio H2E

The memorial forms a uniform architectonic ensemble with the future Museum of the Occupation of Latvia building.

This side of the wall is built from a monolithic mass of toned red concrete, which will tarnish over the course of time as natural precipitation runs down the vertical relief.

Replicated at the center of this wall is a handkerchief with embroidered names of people. Made from weathered steel (Corten), it graphically depicts the embroidery of the original handkerchief, which was sewn by one of the many deportation victims. On the handkerchief was sown the names of other imprisoned companions with threads from the prisoners’ clothes. The names of these people testify to the scale of the tragedy of the Soviet regime, which impacted not only Latvians but also many other peoples.

Design Studio H2E

The image of a sewn handkerchief transforms personal experiences into a monumental solution.

Design Studio H2E

The wall graphic will gradually acquire a natural patina due to climatic conditions.

Slideshow

The Tactile of History. Memorial to the Victims of the Soviet Occupation

Design Studio H2E

The memorial is a symbolic attestation to the link between the present day and the saddest times in the history of the Latvian people.

Design Studio H2E

Red and light gray granite blocks are arranged in the pattern of a traditional Latvian blanket.

Design Studio H2E

The laconic and powerful message “For Remembrance” is respectfully integrated.

Design Studio H2E

Red and light gray granite arranged in the pattern of a traditional blanket.

Design Studio H2E

The memorial forms a uniform architectonic ensemble with the future Museum of the Occupation of Latvia building.

Design Studio H2E

The image of a sewn handkerchief transforms personal experiences into a monumental solution.

Design Studio H2E

The wall graphic will gradually acquire a natural patina due to climatic conditions.