Christopher Choa HLW
I propose a simple and restful place, filled with light, set unobtrusively near the middle of a proposed Cultural Heritage park.
This Memorial Island is to be located near the current Jewish memorial adjacent to Huo
Shan Road in the North Bund district.
In this proposal, The Jewish Memorial Island is a key component of a larger Hongkou Cultural Heritage Park that extends from Xia Hai Miao (the Chinese temple located along Tang Shan Road) through the former Jewish settlement, to the Huang Pu waterfront. The Cultural Heritage Park will unite many aspects of Shanghai’s cultural heritage. This park situates the collection of pre-1949 Jewish gravestones within a broader historical and urban context – this is an appropriate and respectful way of recalling the presence of the Jewish community in Shanghai.
The Jewish Memorial Island is surrounded by a figural moat, a symbol of ritual ablution. Visitors access the Memorial Island by crossing over a granite-slab bridge. At the head of the bridge, a gate structure incorporates historical information about the former Jewish settlement, as well as the nature of the collected gravestones. The gravestones themselves are organized chronologically along the length of the island, with the most recent ones located closest to the bridge. The Ashkenazi (European) gravestones will be oriented vertically, while the Sephardic (Middle Eastern) ones will be placed horizontally, in accordance with traditional custom. There is ample space between the gravestones to allow for future placements of additional ones as they are found and join the existing collection.
A single climax poplar tree is planted at the southern end of the island, a symbol of the Jewish Tree-of-Life.