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The National Museum of Memory

Publicado 17 Apr 2014
Last modified on 12 Mar 2018
Play "Tocando la Marea" Play "Tocando la Marea" Photo by César Romero.

Creating a National Museum of Memory is a task entrusted to the National Center for Historical Memory in accordance with the Law 1448 of 2011 (Victims and Land Restitution Law).

According to the Law, this museum “must perform actions aimed at restoring the dignity of victims and to disseminate the truth about what happened”. Thus, the National Museum of Memory is a breakthrough in the State’s duty to preserving the historical narrative and is constituted as one of the measures of repair and restitution to the victims of Colombia’s armed conflict.

The work carried out by victims, victim organizations as well as defenders of human rights and academics concerning memory and historical narrative, is the basis for the dialog and for the construction of contents for the National Museum of Memory, which must be, like Colombia itself, diverse and plural. This museum, which in the future will have a building in the city of Bogotá, is conceived as a space of inclusive reparation, open and public, articulating perspectives and narratives whose contents will be relevant, rich, flexible and open to being challenged. As of now, the Museum is a scenario for encounters and debate that, far from creating an official memory, generates documents and appropriate moments for reflection to understand and interpret our history.

International Competition: Architectural design of Colombia's National Museum of Memory

Registration Deadline: 19 June

Project Submission Deadline: 29 July


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On 9 April 2015, the National Centre for Historical Memory (NCHM), in association with the Colombian Society of Architects, launched the International Competition for the Architectural Design of the National Museum of Memory (NMM) in the city of Bogota. The NCHM invites the international community to publicise this information and encourage global participation in this international competition. The competition seeks to ensure that the architectural proposal complies with the restorative, monumental and memorial nature of this project.

The competition aims to select the best proposal that will articulate this complex architectural programme effectively. Therefore, it requires an emotive, plural, aesthetical, flexible and symbolic design. The timeframe regarding registration and reception of proposals will be communicated in the coming days.

The National Museum of Memory is a project of great urbanistic and political transcendence for Colombia. For this reason, it must integrate a special component formed by sensitive contents, which will put into context and encourage participants to understand those who will inhabit and fill the Museum with life, in particular the victims. The architects need to take into account these voices in order to interpret what happened, as memory plays a leading role in the construction of a better society in the future.

The building itself should be a memorial, which means it should have an architecture with a commemorative nature that would give account of the intention of the content. The monumentality of the Museum should therefore celebrate the symbolic meaning of the Museum content: it is about respect, plurality and diversity, about remembrance, criticism and creation. “A daily meeting point with the unspeakable” (Barry Bergdoll). 

The NMM and the adjacent Democracy Square will constitute a continuum of expression of knowledge, grief, resistance, creativity and resilience, which the Colombian population from all regions has demonstrated towards violence. In that regard, it is a special synthesis of the various places of memory built in different sites in Colombia, in which violations of human rights took place. Taking into account these particularities, the Colombian Society of Architects, the National Centre for Historical Memory and the Office of the Mayor of Bogota have selected recognized architects. This includes five professionals that will have the enormous responsibility to choose the winning architectural firm, which will design the future National Museum of Memory. Every one of them, from their respective field, will critically, thoughtfully and sensitively assess the proposals. They will make recommendations and suggestions to the winning design in order to make this a historic, architectural and museological milestone in Colombia.

This international competition will award the three best proposals that meet and comply with the requirements to express the memories of what happened and the voices of resistance, while combining through the different areas of the Museum the expectations and demands of the citizens that contribute to the construction of a better country.


Sociedad Colombiana de Arquitectos
Address: Carrera 6 No. 26B – 85 Plataforma. Bogotá D.C., Cundinamarca
Tel: (+571) 350 2606 Fax: (+571) 350 2608

More information and frequently asked questions >>

Fact Sheet about the National Museum of Memory >>


Colombia’s National Museum of Memory - Competition Update

(July 13, 2015)

With more than 100 architectural firms registered from all over the world, the registration stage for Colombia’s National Museum of Memory International Competition closed last month.

The National Centre for Historical Memory announced that 109 applications were received, becoming one of the largest architectural competitions ever held in Colombia, according to the Colombian Society of Architects.

The competition was open to qualified architects —either individuals or teams— from anywhere in the world. Launched on April 9, the competition’s final rules were published on May 27 and the registration was due June 19, 2015. Besides Colombia, applications were received from the United States, from Europe, including Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Austria, and also from Latin America, with Mexico, Chile, and Brazil.

Jury Process

All registered candidates have to submit their proposals until July 29. Then, the selection process will take place and the winner will be announced on August 13, 2015. 

All proposals submitted will be anonymous to the five-member competition jury. The jury includes practicing and academic architects and urbanists, alongside experts on bioclimatic architecture and exhibition design. The jury hold extensive experience in the issues of memory, conflict and museums having two jury members designed museums of memory, one in Bogota, Colombia and the other one in Santiago, Chile. 

The competition jury members are: Juan Pablo Ortiz, Clemencia Escallón, Mauricio Pinilla, Mario Figueroa, and Efrain Riaño.

From August 10 and for two weeks, all proposals will be exhibited to the general public in Bogota.

Competition Awards

The winner of the competition will be awarded COP 670 million Colombian pesos (approximately USD 245.000). In addition to the contract for the development of the project, a sum of COP 3.2 billion Colombian pesos (approximately USD 1.2 million) will be provided as a fee to develop the project design. The contestant that came second and third in the competition will be awarded COP 134 million Colombian pesos (approximately USD 49.000) and COP 89 million Colombian pesos (approximately USD 32.000), respectively.

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