In collaboration with Fathom Studio from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and Two Row Architect from Six Nations of the Grand River, MVRDV is shortlisted to design Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Monument. The Monument will be installed in a prominent location, just steps away from Parliament Hill in Ottawa’s Capital Plateau, on behalf of the LGBT Purge Fund and the Government of Canada.
The Monument is to be a recognition of the historic discrimination experienced by Canada’s LGBTQ2+ people, and a specific dedication to the memory of the Government of Canada’s LGBT Purge. Between the 1950s and 1990s, LGBTQ2+ members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP, and the Federal Public Service experienced systematic discrimination and harassment through policy and sanctioned practice. While the Monument will educate visitors and memorialize this dark period in Canadian history, it will also be a place of celebration and inspiration.
MVRDV’s collective team is guided by the principles of inclusion, indigeneity, visibility, and timelessness. In our leadership, in our greater team, and in our subject matter experts, we champion the lived experiences of Indigenous and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people – using a more inclusive acronym in our design process as a sign of respect to all the stakeholders in the monument that includes, among other groups, a reference to the two-spirit community of Indigenous North Americans. MVRDV aligns with its partners on an international, national, and regional level, according to the deep, shared belief that reconciliation and joy are not mutually exclusive, but rather form an integrated memorial process, moving beyond original trauma to become a living beacon of hope.
The design team strives to draw together regional and national perspectives and histories to root the design, and to this end, MVRDV is collaborating with architects and artists from various backgrounds. Fathom Studio’s Creative Director, transgender activist and visual artist Margot Durling, will co-lead the team with Fathom’s Director of Landscape Architecture, Devin Segal. Principal Architects Brian Porter (Oneida Nation), and Matthew Hickey (Two Spirited Mohawk) represent Two Row.
MVRDV previously participated in Orlando’s National Pulse Memorial & Museum Design and Construction competition. As an architecture firm, MVRDV believes architecture has the power to incite emotional and political dialogue. They have the ambition to create a just society through the creation of sustainable, inclusive spaces for all, a commitment that drives their practice and involvement in the Monument.
About Fathom Studio
From Dartmouth, Nova Scotia Canada, Fathom Studio is an interdisciplinary design practice with the sincere belief in the power of design to connect people to place. Collaborating at many scales and methods of practice, Fathom draws from a diverse team of perspectives—a collective of landscape architects, artists, architects, urban planners, and designers who work to shape spaces that tell stories (and untold stories); fostering community resilience, identity and pride.
About Two Row
Two Row’s head office is on Six Nations of the Grand River territory. Its firm name, drawn from a weave of beads known as the “Two Row Wampum” reflects the balance it strikes in retaining tradition and reflecting community values to guide the realignment of mainstream ways of thinking towards Indigenous ways of knowing, being, design, and architecture. They design with passion, respect, and responsibility to promote architecture that has a positive impact on nature, humanity, and our current sense of civilization.
See the full shortlist for the competition here.
Main image via the National Capital Commission of Canada.