The War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was and international armed conflict that took place between April 1992 and December 1995. The war came as a result of breakup of Yugoslavia. Following the Slovenian and Croatian secessions from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991, the mule-ethnic Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina passed referendum fo independence on 29 February 1992. This was rejected by the political representatives of the Bosnian Serbs, who had boycotted the referendum and established their own republic.
The most recent figures suggest that around 100,000 people were killed during the was. In addition and estimated total of 20,000 to 50,000 woman were raped and over 2,2 million people were displaced, making it the most devastating conflict in Europe since the end of World War II. The Siege of Sarajevo is known as the longest lasting site of a capital city in modern history, lasting 1,425 days. The Sarajevo Tunnel (Tunnel of Hope) was constructed during the Site of Sarajevo in order to link the city of Sarajevo, which was entirely cut off by Serbian forces, with Bosnian-held territory on the other side of the Sarajevo Airport, an area controlled by the United Nations. The tunnel allowed food, war supplies, and humanitarian aid to come into the city, and people to get out. It became the major way of bypassing the international arms embargo and providing the city defenders with weaponry. Beginning the project was difficult as there was a lack of skilled manpower, tools’ and material to complete the last. Consequently, the tunnel was dug by hand, with shovel ad pick, and wheelbarrows used to carry 1,200 cubic meters of detritus away. The tunnel was dug 24- hours a day with workers working in 8 hour shifts, digging from opposite ends to meet in the middle.
How to design a museum for/on a memorial?
This site…those memories…those feelings…the hope…the agony…the fear…
I believe that something so sacred has to remain untouched and tucked in…
It should not be exposed and “easily accessible” or easily seen, which is why the museum/memorial has to be placed underground.
This site should be used as a reference to not only the tunnel but everything that the tunnel represents- an homage to the people of Bosnia and their sufferings, telling the story of all the negative and some of the positive.
This museum has a lot of responsibility. Responsibility to lead its visitors and transport them into that moment in History. The moment where one feels claustrophobic, anxious, and worried. To recreate a feeling where one hears bullets and grenades but does not know where they will land, to ask: will it be me or someone else this time?
The floor plan is composed of neighborhoods that mimic vernacular architecture. An architecture that has been vastly destroyed to varying degrees and has been buried underneath the surface. On the site, one can see traces of the buried homes and neighborhoods represented by light and ruin- all while never revealing the location of the tunnel! The interior allows the visitor to experience, on a physical and emotional level, the tunnel and its story from different angles and perspectives: from the side, underneath, next to it, away from it!
This museum is not only a place that references the site’s historical sorrow but also showcases it’s hope, unity, and future!
April 8, 2015