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Architecture and Art



In designing the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the late architect James Ingo Freed, of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, visited a number of historical Holocaust sites, including several camps and ghettos, to examine their structures and materials. The Museum he built as a result is not a neutral shell. Instead, the architecture—through a collection of abstract forms both invented and drawn from memory—alludes to the history the Museum addresses.

“There are no literal references to particular places or occurrences from the historic event,” he explained. “Instead, the architectural form is open-ended so the Museum becomes a resonator of memory.”


The Museum’s four site-specific works of art were commissioned and chosen by an independent jury, and Museum architect James Ingo Freed collaborated with each of the artists to ensure a harmonious relationship between their work and its context. Just as the architecture of the building draws much of its power from the history of the Holocaust, the four works of art, displayed in and outside the building, evoke emotion and reinforce the Museum’s memorial function.