On 22 May 2017 a bomb was detonated in the foyer of Manchester Arena as people were leaving a concert by American singer Ariana Grande. The attack killed 22 people and injured many more, many of them children. IF_DO were one of three finalists for a memorial in Manchester city centre to commemorate the victims of the attack.
The memorial, Halo, was conceived as a perfect circle, a form without beginning or end, without sides or corners. The circle is a universal symbol of unity, wholeness, eternity, and timelessness. It creates a space of protection, and implies an idea of movement, symbolising the cycle of time.
The plan of the memorial is defined by a circular stone band divided into 22 segments, one for each of the victims. On the inside of the circle, the names of the victims are carved into their own individual segment, so that the names can be read in continuity. At the centre of the circle, surrounded by a band of water, is a garden of native plants and wildflowers.
Above the stone path is a narrow roof—a continuous ribbon, held aloft by 22 columns. The roof is perfectly circular in plan, but in elevation it flows up and down, as though in a dance. The appearance of the roof varies depending on the direction that it is being viewed from, and from certain angles it creates the form of an infinity symbol. While the columns represent the 22 people, the roof represents their connectivity, and what brought them together—music and dancing. It celebrates lives lived and happy memories.
The material palette was chosen to resonate with the Memorial’s Manchester setting. Most prominent is the red sandstone circular base which responds to the red stone of the city, creating a structure grounded in its setting, while the brushed aluminium roof reaches for the sky.
Manchester City Council
Corbett & Tasker