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Passive Emotional Architecture

When I first heard that out class would be visiting the Normandy beaches, I was excited to see how the memorialization of the sight would be handled from an architecture point of view. The nightmares of visitor centers and patinaed plaques haunted me on every bus and train ride we took, but I was happy to see the mostly passive nature of the beaches. There were no perscribed paths, so visitors were able to flow through and around the craters and wreckage at their own pace and direction. Some may argue that this lack of direction or information renders a memorial useless, due to it’s lack of obvious explanation. However, the experience of wonder and self-discovery that a visitor gets when they are able to freely walk and promade through the site is essential to a site like this. There are enough one-path museums that talk about Normandy, it’s great to finally see a memorial that really encourages self-discovery and appreciation of the sacrifices of the soldiers that stormed those beaches, in what seems to me, such a long time ago. It’s easy for people in my generation to separate themselves from WWII and having a site that is more open and free-flowing allows for each visitor to reflect and contemplate about the events that took place there, rather than reading a plaque or graphic.