The commission responsible for deciding the fate of the Grenfell Tower site has determined that while a tall permanent memorial should be erected, the building itself cannot remain in its current state indefinitely.
According to a report from the Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission, which was distributed to the families of the victims, survivors, and members of the community and viewed by the Guardian, a lasting memorial should include the names of the 72 individuals who lost their lives in the June 2017 fire. The goal is to ensure that the world will always remember.
After over four years of discussion, the commission has raised uncertainty about the possibility of the burned building remaining in the west London skyline as a symbol of the systemic failures that caused the fire, as some members of the community had hoped for.
The blueprint outlines the fate of the council tower block from the 1970s as being “extremely delicate”. It stated that the final determination would ultimately rest with the government, which currently has jurisdiction over the area.
Certain members of the community believe that the tower should be removed, as it is believed to have a negative effect on the mental well-being of children who live in close proximity.
The government has been alerted by engineers that the building has been damaged, especially above the tenth floor. However, the commission has stated that it is able to conduct its own evaluations to determine potential solutions. One possibility is to include some elements of the building, such as the 14 supporting pillars and concrete roof, in a memorial or monument.
The committee is led by Lord Boateng, a previous member of the Labour government, and Thelma Stober, a lawyer who was harmed during the 2005 London bombings on July 7th. It consists of members from the Grenfell community.
The report, consisting of 50 pages, was shared with the community on Friday. It suggests that the design for the memorial should take into account the height and visibility of Grenfell Tower, whether it is feasible to use the structure or certain elements of it. The commission suggests exploring creative methods, such as utilizing light or other techniques, to create the illusion of height.
The document, entitled “Honoring Grenfell: suggestions and future actions towards a memorial”, features on its cover rows of illuminated beams rising above the current tower.
The commission emphasized that the tower’s fate is still a complex matter, and that in the upcoming months, it will be necessary for us to find a way to consider the concerns of everyone involved.
The commission’s plan has revealed additional features that will be included on the site in the future. These include the construction of a garden, a monument, and a protective structure for visitors.
The commission stated that the garden ought to serve as a sacred and tranquil area for individuals and communities to remember and contemplate those we have lost.
Planting should symbolize the concepts of growth and renewal while serving as a reminder. Additionally, a monument or artwork should be incorporated to evoke emotions of community, love, hope, sadness, and honoring those who have passed away.
A designated area should be available for personal grieving and remembering, and the memorial could incorporate a space for the unidentified remains of those who perished in the tower under the custody of the coroner.
The design should embody the diverse beliefs and cultural heritage of the Grenfell community and also pay tribute to the children who perished in the tragedy. An independent museum and archive may be created in another location within London.
In the upcoming spring, the commission plans to release a design proposal for architects, landscape designers, and artists. These professionals will be narrowed down in the summer and a winner will be chosen by the end of 2024.
The commission strongly desires for the memorial complex – which is not expected to begin construction until at least late 2026 – to be maintained by the royal parks for an extended period of time. The design should discourage activities, like dog walking, that may not honor its intended purpose and it should not become a destination for tourists.
The report emphasizes the importance of creating designs for the memorial that will ensure that the world will never forget the tragedy that our loved ones and community experienced.