Diener & Diener - Switzerland
Shoah Memorial Drancy - Paris
Avenue Jean Jaurès, Drancy - Paris
2006 - 2011

In autumn 2012, the Shoah Memorial was handed over to the public. The contract for the building was the result of a competition success in 2006.
Answering the question why the architect's office has participated in this competition, Roger Diener explains that the memory of the Shoah concerns everyone.
According to Roger Diener, the design no way tries to embody the theme of the Shoah, but as an expressive house wants to encourage the memory
and processing of this subject. As a special feature there is no clear separation between administration and public areas, since all sectors and
the entire process of researching the memory should be made available to the visitors.

The building by Diener & Diener is clear and strictly in appearance, as we are used from desings by this office. It is a 4 storey concrete building whose
main facade is dominated by large windows. The individual floors are discreetly staggered, and become slightly larger with increasing altitude.
With the large windows on the short side, the interior opens directly to the Cité de la Muette on the opposite side of the road. The museum serves
the exploration of a tragic chapter in the history of Drancy. In this small town north of Paris one of the first residential high-rise housing estates in Europe was
built in the 1930s. Soon the settlement received international reputation as a model of modernity. However,
immediately after the completion, the complex
was used as an internment camp for Jews, Roma and other victims of Nazism, who were deported from here mostly to Auschwitz. The view through the
large windows want to focus exclusively on the memorial site, the former camp. In order not to disturb this intention, the windows on the longer side of the building,
were partially fitted white glass. On arrival at the building the Cité de la Muette is also present - it is reflected in the slightly curved glass surface of the entrance.
On the third floor of the new memorial is a large window which permits a panoramic view of the old internment camp Drancy. Since the years 1940-45 there
was hardly anything changed. The vast gray building of a horseshoe shape, as we know it from the images of this time, is easily recognizable. The facade of the
"Cité de la Muette" has remained almost identical. Only some windows were replaced with modern double glazings. Today about 500 persons live in this building.
There are small apartments for people with low income, where older and single people live. If the building would not be so large, it would hardly be noticed
in the drab suburb of Drancy. At the entrance a memorial recalls the
100,000 Jews that were interned during the war. Next to it stands a railway wagon from 1941,
evoking memories of the deportations from Drancy to the death camps of Nazi. The glass front of the monument, which was inaugurated by French President
Francois Hollande on 21 September 2012, allows visitors and researchers an almost objective, so to speak, nearly clinical look at the old detention center.