The National Site of Recognition for Thalidomide Survivors and their Families | PLACE Laboratory with Gian Tonossi

The National Site of Recognition was established by the Australian Government to acknowledge the thalidomide tragedy and as a lasting reminder to all Australians that the lessons of the tragedy must never be forgotten. Thalidomide, introduced in the 1960s, had devastating consequences, causing severe birth defects.

The glass brick structure designed by PLACE Laboratory aims to create a space for empathy, emotional reflection, and education.

Symbolic gestures unfold a narrative as visitors move through the space, with features representing the fragility of life, the ripple effect of thalidomide, and survivors’ strength. Words etched into the walkway convey the impact, acknowledging trauma and loss. A historical timeline educates about the tragedy, while an archway through the structure frames a view of Lake Burley Griffith offering hope and a sense of fulfillment. The memorial provides a serene setting for reflection, emphasizing the ongoing impact of thalidomide on survivors and fostering awareness.

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