Sharon Davis Design in collaboration with Aegis Trust and Rwandan Government were tasked to design a memorial to preserve the Ntarama church site located in Bugesera district in Rwanda, where in April of 1994, at the height of Rwandan Genocide, five thousand people were killed at Ntarama in a matter of days. The church still holds the bones, clothing, and possessions of those who died. There are few words to describe what it felt like to witness this aftermath of unbearable loss and suffering.
We were tasked with two main priorities: one, stabilizing and preserving the church building; and two, using the proposed design to foster community engagement. The memorial we envisioned would not only guide people through the site while telling the story of the massacre, but the space would also become a point of silent reflection, urging visitors to consider the significance of the tragic events that passed. Our hope was that through creating a meditative space, we could help foster greater understanding, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Most importantly, we hoped to restore personal relationships in Rwanda, ones grounded in mutual trust and respect, to pave a path for healing and peace, and prevent similar violence from recurring.