The December 2004 southeast Asian tsunami killed 280,000 people, including 5,395 people in Thailand. To memorialize the dead, the Thai government held an international design contest to build a memorial and visitor's center in Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park in the country's hardest hit province. Madrid's DISC-O Architecture and Thailand's NagaConcepts won the contest with their astounding project "Mountains of Remebrance," a series of five stupa-shaped mountains that loom over the once devastated shores. Following the dictum of the contest rules, the design focuses on both contemplation and affirmation. The first tower is 30 meters tall: “The Memorial Tower is the most important of the five, giving visitors a place to contemplate the tragedy,” says Charupan Wiriyawiwat, director of NagaConcepts. “But we will stop the sorrow at this tower before visitors move on to the next four towers which will be something cheerful and serve the hopeful future."
The contest jury wrote that it was impressed by "the openness, generosity and ecumenical quality of this scheme which combines references from many different cultures and religions in providing an iconic landmark and place of reflection for the families of victims and survivors of the Tsunami Disaster as well as for the general public."
If all goes as planned, the project--which will include a meditation center, a museum, an amphitheatre, restaurants and shops--will open in two years.