Architects plan memorial for 72 victims of tragic Grenfell Tower blaze

Architects plan memorial for 72 victims of tragic Grenfell Tower blaze
A 'powerful' memorial for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in London were be built, seven years after the tragedy took place.
2 min read
10 July, 2024
Thousands of people were affected by the Grenfell fire tragedy [Getty]

The 72 victims of the Grenfell Tower fire will be honoured in a memorial at the site with work on the design beginning in time for the ten-year anniversary of the tragedy.

Architects have been called on to draw up "powerful" memorial ideas to mark the disaster, with five designs shortlisted in autumn and £20,000 commissions for the development of their ideas. By spring, a winner should be selected and an application to construct the memorial submitted for 2027.

The Grenfell fire broke out at the 24-storey tower block on 14 June 2017, rapidly spreading across the building due to flammable cladding and external insulation.

A design brief for "a bold memorial – to create more than a simple place of commemoration... both exceptional and heartfelt, a poignant reminder and powerful homage to those at the heart of the tragedy" was issued after advice from survivors, residents, and family members of victims, The Guardian reported, who will be consulted throughout the process.

The commission for the memorial is not backed by all victims as there were reportedly some disagreements about which section of the affected community should have the biggest say on the project.

"We lost our loved ones and a sacred site could be destroyed and replaced with something that is not what we want to represent our families," Nabil Choucair, who lost six members of his family to the fire, told The Guardian.

"You shouldn’t have the voice of the next of kin alongside everyone else. It’s being lost among hundreds of other survivors and residents."

Many of the residents, including refugees from Syria and other countries, died in their flats after advice from fire crews to stay inside while they dealt with the fire in communal areas.

The fire was only fully extinguished after 60 hours but took the lives of 62 people and dozens more injured, many of them seriously, resulting in uproar against the government, council, and emergency services' handling of the situation.

A public inquiry was ordered by then-Prime Minister Theresa May a day after the tragedy, which is still ongoing, but survivors and families of the victims have strongly criticised the authorities' response.