Veer Balak Smarak, Anjar


Project Designed by Design Factory India (DFI)

Veer Balak Memorial’ has been built in remembrance of 185 school children and 20 teachers who died during the 2001 earthquake at Anjar. The Smarak was built over an area of 3.15 acres and divided into cultural and social spaces including a museum and memorial amongst others. It invites the local residents of Anjar to commemorate the memory of the lost souls and the younger generation to prepare them for the future.

The founder and creative director of Design Factory India (DFI) Siddharth Bathla said “Each element of the project aims to create an emotional and meaningful experience for its visitors. The narrative has been laid out in the simplest and most engaging form throughout the project across mediums (narrative pavers, outdoor installations, films, kinetic sculpture, interactive models, immersive scenography, etc) to be able to create an impact on the visitors. The holistic design approach across the project engages the visitors not only in the indoor but also in the outdoor spaces. The memorial has been designed to reflect the faces of the lost souls along with the stars in the sky to represent their presence amongst us even today.”

Every night a strong beam of light, visible across Anjar, emerging from the central sculpture reaches out to the sky paying homage to those who are not with us anymore. The controlled environment where users are guided by ushers across their journey of the museum enhances the user-experience manifolds. Additionally, facilities such as cafe, temporary exhibition spaces, playground cum banquet, and rental auditorium spaces have all been developed to create a commercial sense for the appropriate maintenance and upkeep of the project.

The design is sensitive to the required context whether it is a study of materials or the behavior of local people. The material used in the project is vernacular and of low maintenance- local stones for flooring, skylit toilets to optimize the use of energy, shaded pathways to combat the heat of Anjar and to cater to every age group specially to help children in their growth through play areas, library, an auditorium in the most playful manner.

The inspiration is the stories of parents and the lost souls of children during the earthquake. The project is driven by narrative design as a tangible space for intangible thoughts and emotions. It’s unique in nature as the programme is designed for every age group with an authentic blend of Indian + Contemporary design languages.

This memorial and museum is a valuable gift to future generations from today’s society to serve as an inspiration for the future and contribute to the growth of a developed nation. The project is based on a very sensitive subject and the story has been told by maintaining the balance of emotions through design. This unique way of communication through space, films, and gestures immerses the visitor into a sense of disturbance and makes them think about the past at the same time moves them toward the bright future.


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