On June 24, 2021, a residential building collapsed in Surfside, Florida, USA. As a result of the tragedy, 98 people died. To pay tribute to the memory of the dead, the authorities decided to create a memorial complex at the site of the tragedy, one of the authors of the competitive projects for which turned to be a renowned architect from Russia, Mikhail Skisov.
On his decision to work on the memorial complex
Mikhail notes: Such a serious and heart wrenching blow that the population received on June 24, 2021, in the city of Surfside could not leave me indifferent. The architect believes that a new vision of the development of this space, clothed in a unique concept, may help people think beyond the tragedy and a bit more easily survive its consequences.
Mikhail Skisov: Comprehensive development of the territory for the benefit of social development is important in all aspects: intellectual, semantic, spiritual and physical. Today, on the eve of the anniversary of this tragedy, which affected not only Florida and the city, but the whole world, the topic of site renovation becomes the most relevant.
The ability to transform complex categories into understandable images at the level of feelings is one of the features of the architect, and the design of the complex in Surfside is very bright in this respect. This memorial is a kind of inviting space filled with complex cultural and artistic content. The complex contains much light, both day and night. This is facilitated by such techniques as terracing, large glazed surfaces, and the widespread use of natural materials. The memorial is designed to erase social boundaries and absorb a sense of memory for every person.
The iconic memorial place will constantly remind the inhabitants of the whole country of the value of human life. Mikhail and his team are sure that the authorities of the city of Surfside will choose favor of the memorial complex, which will undoubtedly benefit society and help raise the spiritual level. It is worth noting that the project was awarded the silver award of the prestigious International Design Awards.
Currently, after all the necessary hearings and debates in the Administration of the city, the design is at the stage of adoption.
On the experience of creating cultural facilities
This design is far not unique in Mikhail’s creative vocabulary. At home in Russia, he has already encountered similar non-trivial challenges that have not only a cultural and aesthetic function, but also act as important city-forming objects that develop urban spaces and are carriers of complex social meanings.
Among the cultural buildings of Mikhail Skisov, in addition to the American memorial, which received a silver medal at the International Design Awards, it is worth noting the Osetrovsky Bridgehead memorial complex in Voronezh-city (Russia), created on the site of bloody battles during the World War II and won the international competition in 2020 in Russia. Mikhail also created religious and landscape gardening spaces in such Russian cities as Voronezh, Bobrov, Ostrogozhsk and Kantemirovka.
Due to his creative and engineering skills and vast experience, Mikhail manages to create multifaceted art facilities that focus on the memory of the places where they are located. One of the distinguishing features of an architect is the ability to see in advance society’s need for a monument and understand its profound meaning, and not merely create well-organized, aesthetically correct, and functional things.
According to Mikhail Skisov, the image of such a space should be largely shaped by life movement. Functional accessibility, expressiveness, and compliance with the current needs of people remain essential factors.
The Florida Memorial Project is a particular, inviting space filled with cultural and artistic content. So, according to Mikhail’s idea, the complex in Surfside will be filled with light at any time of the day thanks to well-thought illumination, a large area of glazing, and terracing. Of no minor importance in the complex will be water – a clear symbol of vitality and strength. The waterfall at the entrance to the complex, according to Mikhail, will create an atmosphere of constant flow, inexhaustible energy, and life, a sense of transparency and truthfulness, absorbing a sense of memory and how meaningful and important it is for everyone.
The memory of facts will be given a special place there: one of the walls will contain the names of the dead. Memory, which is usually focused on in such projects, is intended to prevent the threat of such tragedies in the future.
About the architect
Mikhail Skisov is an outstanding architect from Russia, a member of the Union of Architects of Russia, a winner of many prestigious awards in the field of architecture, and the author of many unique and successful designs. After gain great fame in his homeland, he decided to continue his work in the United States, where in just a few months, he proved himself to be a talented architect with a non-trivial approach to creativity. His achievements in the professional field surely point out the architect’s reputation.
So, among the iconic awards and achievements of Mikhail Skisov in Russia, it is worth mentioning the first prize in the competition Building a new Olympus-2019 for the best achievement in the construction industry; participation in the final of the first stage of the architectural competition for concept designs of houses for the elderly, many victories in the architectural forum Zodchestvo VRN. Of course, this is far not all – in the creative luggage of the architect and his team, there are a lot of other designs that have been harmoniously introduced into the architectural appearance of the Voronezh region and other settlements of Russia.
Mikhail Skisov is no less active after moving to the USA. During his work here he received the silver medal of the International Design Awards for the Memorial Complex, which has already been discussed above. As well Mr. Skisov was awarded for the project of the Coral Tower elite residential complex approved by the Miami City Administration and the Washington Tower apartment project at 6015 Washington St Hollywood, FL 33023, Washington, commissioned by US commercial and residential real estate crowdfunding platform Vera Fund.
The architect’s ambitions are high, and his plans include further productive work in the architectural field, which is beyond doubt taking into account perseverance and energy of the talented young architect Mikhail Skisov.
article By Jenny Taylor