Bosnian architect Sabina Tanović‘s “Tunnel of Hope” project has won a competition to memorialise the Siege of Sarajevo.
“Tunnel of Hope” centres on the tunnel of the same name, also known as the Sarajevo Tunnel, which served as the sole route of entry and escape to the city during the four-year-long siege.
Entrants were invited to propose designs for two buildings — a memorial museum and a research centre, to be constructed on either side of Sarajevo airport, where the tunnel’s exits were once located. The brief required that the structures be able to heighten the profile of the site as a visitor destination, stay true to the original location and add symbolic value to the site.
Tanović acknowledges the crucial role of earth in the construction of the original tunnel in her use of rammed earth to construct the exterior walls of the new buildings, accompanied by green roofs. These features appear as lifted layers of soil, citing the large heaps of soil piled outside the entrances to the original tunnel. In this way, the new structures reflect the history of the memorial site, adding symbolic value through material means.
Tanović was a young girl during the Siege of Sarajevo, which lasted from 1992 — 1996. Partly owing to her personal experience, her practice explores the link between the psychological aspects of grief and how they might be incorporated into the creation of memorials. Tanović now heads up “Designing Memory”, a project concerned with the design and adaptation of memorial sites.