Eclipse  ©1988
Status: international competition
Client: Municipality of Carpi, Comune di Carpi (Modena), Italy
Design and team: Jan Willem van Kuilenburg, Jemima de Brauwere, Michael Zegers


…into the light, the future, life…


This is a project from the darkest depths of our archive.

It originates from the time that design disciplines were on the doorstep of the computer era. This project is designed and drawn up by hand and it has our first, rather primitive, computer generated wire frame material.

After graduation, Jemima, Michael and Jan Willem decided to participate in this international competition for the restoration of the former concentration camp north of Carpi that also had to be part of a new park. The camp would become a national museum in memory of the victims of Nazi concentration camps.

An orthogonal grid, historically grown in the city layout of Carpi, becomes the new park and connects the town itself to the agricultural landscape and to the camp. Three grids of trees structure the park and create a north south flow of visitors with possible programs, like gardens, forest, water, parking facilities, etc., in east west orientation.

A ring with a 330-m diameter strategically connects the old camp, the new camp and the park. It is tilted over five degrees and disappears underground below the camps.

The ring has ramps, escalators and elevators to link six satellites: entry/exit, international World War II museum, old camp museum, escape, new camp museum and polemic institute.

After entering the ring, visitors descend underground where they approach the history of WW II inside a subterranean open block inside a huge excavation with a memorial square on top. From the deepest point, between old and new camp, one can flee via the escape volume that overlooks the complete layout.

The surfaces of both camps are covered by a layer of dark asphalt in the areas where the guards were operational. The lost barracks in the old camp are represented by marble slabs. One row of barracks is translated into a series of glass volumes that shed light into the underground museum.

In the new camp, the barracks are left as they are with the exception of four barracks that are restored, protected by a suspended curved roof and connected to the ring. The ring brings visitors back; all the way up, via the polemic institute into the light, the future, life.