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The article discusses the relations of architecture and memory. These interrelations are necessary of the social functioning of architecture and its professional reflection. From the ancient rhetorical ‘art of memory’ to the contemporary architectural movements a building is considered as the bearer of memory and the means for the construction of history. The text is focused on the memorials commemorating the tragedies of the last century. The effectiveness of the monument as the tool for the production of memory is ensured by the architect’s ability to manipulate the visitor and to provoke his/her emotional response. This psychological background became the basics of the theories of art and architecture at the turn of the 19 and 20 centuries, at the beginning of the Modern movement. The conceptualization of the memorial architecture dates back to the same period.
The issue of commemoration is examined using the example of widespread ‘minimal monuments’ based on the motif of the stone cube. The monuments of this kind provide the spectator the emotional experience which results from both geometry and heaviness. The voids are also typical of the memorial structures, and we can draw an analogy with the empty spaces employed by psychologists as metaphors of the trauma. The article discusses also the category of the Sublime as the tool for examination of the structures commemorating the phenomena beyond the human conceptual ability.
Finally, the changing commemorative practices are discussed. WWI results in conventional heroic monuments. WWII, totalitarianism, and Holocaust have altered the perception and notion of the tragedy. As the result, architects produce traumatic monuments, forcing the visitor’s emotions and depriving him/her of the freedom of choice. 
 
Keywords: memorial, monument, the construction of history, memorial architecture, psychology of architecture, war memorial, Holocaust memorial
 
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