MVRDV, Fathom Studio and Two Row Architect Reveal Finalist Proposal for Canada’s LGBTQ2+ National Monument

Canada’s Department of National Heritage announced the five finalists in the LGBTQ2+ National Monument competition. This project is meant to tell the story of the persecuted generations, particularly during the LGBT Purge period. The Lens is one of the five finalists. It transforms the symbol of oppression into a personal identity element, and uses the landscape as a platform to show the community’s impact on society. The proposal was created by a Canadian team of Fathom studio, MVRDV, and Two Row Architect. It aims to express resilience, create a space for education and memorialization, and provide an inclusive space for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

© MVRDV / Fathom Studio / Two Row Architect

The monument and park are located on the Ottawa River and next to the Parliament Buildings. They honor the resilience of the community in the face persecution. Between the 1950s to the mid-90s, LGBT people were systematically harassed, discriminated against, arrested, and expelled from public service jobs. This was known as the “LGBT Purge”, which affected the lives of more than 9000 people.

Fathom studio, MVRDV, and Two Row Architect proposed a tilted circular design with a triangle section. This is a reference to the pink triangle that was once used as a persecuting tool. The Monument creates ripples in the landscape that symbolise the community’s agency. Granite walls and seating provide moments of reflection as well as support for installations. The landscape design includes native plant species to restore local biodiversity.

We have reclaimed the lens that oppressed us for this National Monument. This allows us to invite an outside view for community and belonging, as well as creating a new space for the community’s healing, reflection, and growth. The lens looks outward and acknowledges that we have always existed within monuments or institutions around us. – Margot Durling (creative director at Fathom Studio).

This team is among five finalists for the LGBTQ2+ National Monument. They are joined by SOM, MASS Design Group and BBB architects Ottawa. Public City Architecture supports visual artists and advisors. After a public feedback phase, the winning proposal will be chosen.

© MVRDV / Fathom Studio / Two Row Architect
  • Client, LGBT Purge Fund. National Capital Commision. Canadian Heritage
  • Size and Program: 6,300m2 Public Monument
  • Architect by Team Durling, Fathom Studio, MVRDV and Two Row Architect
  • Visualisations: Antonio Luca Coco, Luana La Martina, Angelo La Delfa
  • Strategy & Development: Alex Rodriguez
  • Structural engineer: RJC Engineering
  • Video: Mirror Picture
  • Animation: ANNIEM: Motion Design & Illustration
© MVRDV / Fathom Studio / Two Row Architect