Created as spaces where we can all stop and ponder some important event or person, memorials are some of the most visited and photographed places on Earth. Some, like the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. or the Taj Mahal in Agra, are iconic and known by nearly everybody. Countless others from throughout the centuries, however, have been forgotten or overlooked. The latest selection for our Just Booked series (on gorgeous coffee table books) In Memory of: Designing Contemporary Memorials, seeks to catalogue and examine more than 60 memorials from around the world built in the last half-century.
The book was created by Spencer Bailey, himself the subject of a memorial in Sioux City after surviving the 1989 United Airlines Flight 232 crash. Flipping through the book (published by Phaidon), it's hard not to wonder which of these feats of design, engineering, and creativity will remain famous and which will fade to obscurity. Some, like the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C. are already famous.
But the book's true value comes in introducing some spectacular works that might not be familiar. That includes the Wenchuan Earthquake Memorial Museum, which captures the earth being ripped apart, or the Steilneset Memorial in Norway, which commemorates the 91 people burned at the stake in the town for witchcraft in the 17th century. Needless to say, you'll have some more sober ideas for where to go when this pandemic ends.