As It Happens

Architect warns against placement of Ottawa-funded Victims of Communism monument

An Ottawa architect has picked a fight with his biggest potential client -- the federal government. Barry Padolsky has written a public letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to rethink a plan to put a memorial to the victims of communism on one of the country's most valuable symbolic sites....
The site for the Victims of Communism monument is circled, a location which an Ottawa architect believes undermines the longstanding "judicial triad" vision for the Canadian capital's most important symbolic sites. (Photo: Google Maps)

An Ottawa architect has picked a fight with his biggest potential client -- the federal government. Barry Padolsky has written a public letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to rethink a plan to put a memorial to the victims of communism on one of the country's most valuable symbolic sites.

"When you see the site, you really can appreciate that a building needs to go there in order to complete the triad," says Padolsky to As It Happens host Carol Off.

The triad he refers to is one that can be seen in the Parliament Buildings.

Using the example of the Parliament Buildings (pictured above), Ottawa architect Barry Padolsky believes the site for the Victims of Communism monument undermines the longstanding "judicial triad" vision for the Canadian capital's most important symbolic sites. (iStock)
Padolsky believes a similar judicial triad, made up of the Supreme Court and Justice buildings, along with the long-proposed Pierre Elliott Trudeau Judicial Building would be ideal.

"I've no objection to this kind of memorial," he says. "I think that the location is one that is inappropriate. When I look at the other victims of communism monuments around the world... one of them which of course is in Washington, D.C. ...it certainly doesn't command the kind of place that we are offering to this schematic memorial. My view is that it can be well-placed somewhere else and we should reserve the site to the Federal Court building in the future or some other museum."

He continues: "Many senior officials within the federal planning in the government were opposed to this proposal to put the memorial there. In fact, we have learned that several years ago, the National Capital Commission had offered a site in the Garden of the Provinces which is on Wellington Street."

Is Padolsky worried that his criticism will cost him a client in the federal government?

"I'm quite confident that in a democracy we have, we have open dialogue on things like this that one can act as a citizen and also practice architecture without blowback from the government. I'm confident of that."

For more on our coverage of the memorial check-out this: Jury's out on design for Ottawa's multi-million dollar 'victims of communism' monument (Aug. 25/14)

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