Adjaye Associates designs a memorial pavilion as a tribute to Cherry Groce

The triangular monolithic pavilion in London is dedicated to the memory of Cherry Groce, whose unjust shooting at the hands of the Metropolitan Police sparked the 1985 Brixton riot.

by STIRworldPublished on : May 02, 2021

Of late, global events, most notably the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States last year, have highlighted the pervasiveness of discrimination within law enforcement and institutional racism within society. These undesired hindrances to the noble idea of social equality - a vital postulate of modern democracy - are now gradually being acknowledged for their contributions to the unjust hierarchies that have regulated civilisation and its judicial systems. At a time when the issue is now more relevant than ever, Adjaye Associates has unveiled a memorial in Windrush Square, Brixton, commemorating the life of Cherry Groce, a victim of injustice at the hands of the UK police system during the mid-1980s.

The memorial has been delivered by the Cherry Groce Foundation - a charity aiding marginalised Black, African, and Caribbean communities in the UK | Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion | Adjaye Associates | STIRworld
The memorial has been delivered by the Cherry Groce Foundation - a charity aiding marginalised Black, African, and Caribbean communities in the UK Image: © Michelle Äärlaht

The memorial's construction has been facilitated by the Cherry Groce Foundation, which was established in 2014 to provide aid to marginalised Black, African, and Caribbean communities in Britain. "I am honoured to celebrate the unveiling of this project and the representation it brings to the black community for Brixton, London, and the UK at large," says Ghanaian-British architect and the firm's founder, Sir David Adjaye, in an official statement on the pavilion's completion. He adds, "It is my sincere hope that the restorative justice that is borne from the making of this pavilion can help us all learn from and be better neighbours to each other in the city that we live in".

The memorial is a tribute to Cherry Groce who was wrongfully shot by police officers conducting a raid on her home| Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion |  Adjaye Associates | STIRworld
The memorial is a tribute to Cherry Groce who was wrongfully shot by police officers conducting a raid on her home Image: © Michelle Äärlaht

On September 28, 1985, Dorothy Cherry Groce, a 37-year-old mother residing in Brixton, was shot in front of her children by Metropolitan Police officers conducting a raid on her home. This incident sparked the 1985 Brixton riots, which saw confrontations between local law enforcement authorities and residents taking a stand in opposition to perceived injustices resulting from the policing system and its racial prejudice towards Britain's black community. After enduring the strain of paralysis, caused by the shooting, for 26 years, Groce passed away in 2011 from complications due to her injuries. Thirty-five years on, her story remains one of a family and community collectively striving towards a quest for truth and righteousness while refuting the idea that their society is one that condones the injustice done to her.

  • Located in Windrush Square, the monolithic structure acts as a community pavilion for the residents of Brixton| Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion | Adjaye Associates | STIRworld
    Located in Windrush Square, the monolithic structure acts as a community pavilion for the residents of Brixton Image: © Michelle Äärlaht
  • Axonometric View of the Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion | Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion | Adjaye Associates | STIRworld
    Axonometric View of the Cherry Groce Memorial PavilionImage: Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

Within the context of Windrush Square, Brixton - a southern borough of the English capital, the structure acts as a community pavilion for residents to congregate, in addition to its primary function as a reminder of Cherry Groce's perseverance. Structurally engineered by British practice AKT II, the pavilion's single cuboidal column rising from a stepped base symbolises Cherry's unwavering resolve and fortitude alongside the support of her community.

The triangular roof symbolises the shelter and security of the local community| Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion | Adjaye Associates | STIRworld
The triangular roof symbolises the shelter and security of the local community Image: © Michelle Äärlaht

At its apex, a triangular roof provides shade and simultaneously represents the shelter and security of Brixton's local community, while its planting signifies 'change, growth, and optimism', as per the architects. The roofline has the words 'In Loving Memory Of Cherry Groce', engraved on all three faces. Benches integrated into the stepped lower levels are designed for the residents to engage with the memorial's space. The structure's angular design complements similar geometries seen within the landscaped lawns of the area, which includes a memorial to the African and Caribbean soldiers.

Integrated benches add a functional element to the pavilion's design | Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion | Adjaye Associates | STIRworld
Integrated benches add a functional element to the pavilion's design Image: © Michelle Äärlaht

"It’s been a long time coming and happy to see all the hard work, dedication and commitment from all involved including donors, come together," says Cherry’s son, Lee Lawrence, regarding the memorial's unveiling. On the pavilion's personal significance to him, he mentions, "It’s a wonderful feeling and an honour to have such a significant memorial embedded in Brixton where we and many other black people called home, as well as the place where we experienced so much of our struggles. So to have this memorial dedicated to my mother Cherry Groce and a community who rose up for the terrible injustice which happened to her and subsequently us is the greatest gift I could give to her in her absence".

The single cuboidal column represents Cherry's fortitude and resilience as well as the support of her community| Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion | Adjaye Associates | STIRworld
The single cuboidal column represents Cherry's fortitude and resilience as well as the support of her community Image: © Michelle Äärlaht

Inaugurated on April 25, 2021, the Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion now stands as an emblem of Groce's struggle and of architecture's ability to aid in healing long standing wounds borne from the evil of institutional racism. 

(Text by Jerry Joe Elengical, intern at STIRworld.com)

Project Details

Name: Cherry Groce Memorial Pavilion
Location: Brixton, London, United Kingdom
Completed: 2021
Architect:Adjaye Associates
Client: Cherry Groce Foundation
Structural Engineer: AKT II

Comments

Comments Added Successfully!

About Author

Recommended

LOAD MORE
see more articles
2455,2695,2449,2462,2563

Keep it stirring

get regular updates SIGN UP

Collaborate with us

This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.
LEARN MORE AGREE