High in the mountains above Guaimaca, Honduras (population 10,000), Proyecto Clamor de Paz was built as a memorial and community space honoring the memory of two inspiring young children. The project seeks healing over their loss. Over 65 family members, 70 girls from Jennie’s school, as well as foreign groups collaborated on this project. Its architect raised $30,000 to fund construction. The mayor donated some building materials.
The story On June 3, 2008, four men murdered Jennie Lizeth Lopez (12) and Karlin Adali Valdez (10) in their home. Jennie’s love of learning and infectious enthusiasm promised her a bright future. Enraged, the community protested for justice. Three of the killers were tried and convicted. After visiting the event’s site and speaking with the community, we sensed a need to memorialize Jennie and Karlin on their house’s site.
The site The original simple three-room home (and scene of the crime) was surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and coffee farms. It was built of stucco-clad mud bricks reinforced with straw and horsehair. Vertical slats atop the masonry filtered in light and breezes.
Design decisions Because the house was decrepit and falling apart, it was decided that a new structure would be built on its footprint. The program for the new structure included a memorial-community space, chapel, and restroom. In addition, there is a forecourt, bridge, and tiered terrace. The local vernacular of concrete block, stucco, metal roofs, and wood/steel doors, windows, and screens influenced the construction.
The memorial-community space features two bronze medallions inscribed with the children’s names and set in a black concrete floor. Sunlight is tracked throughout the day, aligning the two medallions (brother and sister) once a day. At evening, two spotlights will shine on the medallions, resembling stars in the night sky.
Breezes enter through strategically placed wood screens. Three double doors create crosses when closed, alluding to Calvary, making the space inward-focused and contemplative. When opened, they provide visitors stunning vistas of the landscape. The open doors also connect outdoor space to the interior while allowing for overflow crowds as needed.
The chapel is entered through tall doors with a cross-shaped opening. On axis with them is a small square window framing a valley view. Local craftsmen built its shutters, which, when opened, frame what was Jennie’s view of her school in the valley below.