Ten teams are competing to design the new National Holocaust Memorial outside Parliament, after a panel decided on a short-list from almost 100 entries.
Jewish designers, such as Sir Anish Kapoor and Israeli Ron Arad, are among the teams being judged by a jury comprising the Chief Rabbi, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, journalist Lord Daniel Finkelstein and TV broadcaster Natasha Kaplinsky.
Other contenders have previous experience of recognising the Shoah, including Rachel Whiteread, who designed the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial in Vienna, and Israeli artist Michal Rovner, who designed a video wall for Yad Vashem.
“These teams are challenged with creating a vision for the memorial which sensitively reflects the loss of life and humanity during the Holocaust,” said jury chair Sir Peter Bazelgette, who also chairs the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation.
“It must speak to everyone, with an unwavering commitment against all hatred and intolerance, and it must inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to commemorate and learn.”
An exhibition of the finalists’ designs will be held in London and around the country from January, with the winner being chosen in the spring, “after a period of public consultation, seeking views from all communities across the UK”.
This week, Javid paid tribute to “an impressive line-up” of architectural talent, while Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said the memorial would be “an enduring symbol of the UK’s absolute commitment to Holocaust education and to challenge hatred”.
He added: “The quality of the shortlisted design teams leaves me in no doubt that the eventual winner will rise to the tremendous responsibility of appropriately capturing these commitments.”
Organisers hope the memorial will provide a place for quiet reflection and a focal point for national commemorations, while the proposed learning centre will “contextualise the memorial, grounding it in historical fact as events fade from living memory, and inspiring future generations to respect and embrace difference in the fight against hatred and prejudice”.
It will contain recordings of testimony from British Holocaust survivors and camp liberators, including unheard stories only recently recorded.
Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: “We are delighted to see this stellar shortlist. It is an exciting prospect that in years to come there will be a holocaust memorial in this country designed by one of the world’s leading architects.”