remembering the historic siege that has shook her hometown, architect and researcher sabina tanović presents her ‘tunnel of hope’ proposal for the ‘memorial fund of canton sarajevo’ 2016 competition. growing up as a young girl during the siege of sarajevo (1992-1996) in bosnia and herzegovina, tanović has become an expert in commemorative architecture. through an interdisciplinary approach, she currently investigates the relations between the psychological aspects of grief and how they integrate into a memorial-making process. as a result, she has taken on the lead in ‘designing memory’— a project that deals with the design, adaptation and remodelling of memorial sites. 

the ‘tunnel of hope’ memorial site proposals reflects the four-year long siege that took place in sarajevo
all images courtesy of designing memory



in a blind selection process, the jury has finally chosen sabina tanović ‘s entry as the best one. the ‘memorial fund of canton sarajevo‘ competition, in cooperation with the institute for the protection of historical heritage, insitute for urban development in canton sarajevo and the association of architects B&H, revolves around the historic ‘tunnel D-B’ in sarajevo. stretching 700 meters, this unique structure created during the four-year long siege has served as the only possible exit/ entrance to the besieged city. currently, a section is preserved and open to the public as part of an exhibition opened right after the war in bosnia & herzegovina ended. the competition invites proposals for two buildings: a memorial museum and research center planned to be built on two sides of the sarajevo international airport, where the tunnel’s exits used to be. this should facilitate the tunnel’s growing popularity, preserve the authenticity of the location, and bring additional symbolic value to the site. 

the exhibition space preserves and commemorates the deep history of the siege



tanović’s concept for the memorial museum and research center is designed to preserve and commemorate a structure of profound significance, but also create a space that can meet complex demands of the existing site. both buildings, separated by the sarajevo airport, communicate via materialization and symbolic meaning. to reflect the tunnel’s history, the outer walls of the new buildings are made of rammed earth, with green roofs — appearing as lifted layers of soil. this evokes the essential role of earth in the making of the original tunnel: enormous heaps of soil have been taken out and deposited next to the exits and entrances with trenches to ensure a safer passage. the authentic remains of the tunnel, still open to the public, can be reached via the exhibition spaces, which descend gradually into the earth.

the proposed buildings enhances the sense of place



arguing that memorial architecture on sites with original structures needs to be moderate and tailored for the specificities of a given topic, tanović proposes buildings that enhance the sense of place and serve as transitional space towards the main subject. having been selected as the winning entry, the implementation of this proposal is planned for the coming year.

exhibition space with a view on the entrance of the original tunnel

proposed memorial research center



tunnel memorial museum sarajevo – designing memory 2017
video courtesy of designing memory



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom