King Hussein MemorialEdit profile
At the initiative of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) conducted a competition aimed to create a memorial for the late King Hussein, the father of the modern Jordan and leader of Jordanians for almost half a century (1952- 1999). The memorial is planned to reminisce the late king’s spirit, character, and life which was dedicated towards building a modern Jordan. The Memorial aims at reminding all Jordanians of the legacy and achievements of the late king through attempting to let them see and feel what was dear to him and envision the dream he had for the people of his country. The dedicated lot, situated at the King Hussein Memorial Park in Amman, provided some of the forces affecting the design, and was utilized in reflecting the late king’s persona and memorable way of dealing with the people; Jordanians and foreigners. The accessibility of the site from one side only was redefined in the design so that it was treated as an open plain, easily accessible from all directions, and transformed to a public gathering area. From the time his late majesty was inaugurated at the tender age of 16, the Kingdom witnessed massive progress in all fields of science, technology, medicine, construction, and others. He took Jordan into a state of international recognition, in a smooth yet solid path towards being a leading nation in the Arab world. His leadership, like a “wave` of unwavering commitment, led us towards reaching always for higher grounds, building on what we have from our national heritage and our pride of being Jordanians, and taking these two as the foundation, the launch pad for always being better, building higher, and growing stronger. All this manifested in the four main elements that formed the backbone of the design of the King Hussein Memorial. The Wave, symbolizing the effect of the power and the progress of the country, was translated in the dynamic placement and orientation of the series of pillars, creating a ripple of continuous changes and progressive development that can be felt upon viewing the memorial. The transition from each pillar to the next in a wave-like effect carries the visitor with it in a dynamic tribute to the late King, following through with the implied motion of the masses, visually at first and then physically, still being not mono-directional, reflecting his nature and diversity of actions and thoughts and implying universality. The Pillars were chosen as a reminder for our national values, the progress of the country, and the foundations for building the future; a firm, evident memoir rising gradually from the soft earth and eventually standing tall under the sky, in the wave-like formation, with subtle reminders of the great expectations of the Humane King engraved in each one of them. The positioning of the rippling pillars was not in line with the Historical Passage so as to give the Memorial its own presence, integrity, and distinction. These pillars are arranged in a way to reflect and illustrate the chronological achievements throughout the years of his late majesty’s reign, expressed by their positioning relevant to the ground, and the selected words engraved on each one, taken from different speeches by his late majesty on major occasions throughout time. The dents below each one serve to act as a trace of the previous location of the column, left behind when it rose from it, and filled with water, the universal symbol for purity. The Enclosure created by the gradual inclination of these pillars transformed the area behind them into a sheltered zone providing a calm place for meditation for the visitor, shielded from the outside world, and allowing them to ‘see’ through openings framed by the pillars his vision and dream of building this nation by actually seeing the built environment of Amman and Jordan. The enclosure is also a dynamic space, changing in form according to the inclination of the pillars atop, and changing in atmosphere throughout the day according to the lights and shadows moving across the floor and wall behind, enriching the architectural experience yet maintaining the serenity and refuge symbolizing the modern Jordan as being an oasis of tranquility and peace. The Open Plaza created in front of the pillars forms a welcoming area, gathering and bringing all the people to the project, treating them as equals, allowing them to interact with the memorial and experience it in different ways and from different angles, transforming it from a distant rigid monument to a familiar emotion and memory. The visitor is encouraged to experience the memorial by allowing them freedom of movement around it from all directions, and providing for them a place to linger and absorb the surrounding elements of solid masses and voids, natural and manmade, water and trees, light and shadow, openness and enclosure, all caressing the senses and stimulating the memory. The canopy trees distributed in the plaza, a symbol of prosperity and continuous growth, changing look throughout the different seasons, giving the area a vibrant look throughout the different months of the year, in addition to the scattered benches provide a sheltered seating area contained yet not enclosed, physically and visually connected to the surrounding elements. The Materials used help accentuate the concept and demonstrate the basis of modern Jordan. Stone was used for the tiling and the seats as a symbol for the solid heritage and values shared by the people, the durability and ability to endure all circumstances, and our pride of the rich past our nation has gone through. And brushed metal was used for the massive 10 x 1.2m pillars symbolizing the strength of the nation’s building blocks, the modernity, and foundations. The merger of these two in one structure illustrates the simple yet powerful concept deeply rooted in us all: a pride in our past linking us to the future not far ahead and giving us the power and assurance to pursue it.