The New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects is encouraging its members to participate in an international competition to design an Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial.

The two-stage design competition asks entrants to submit their design concepts in digital form as part of the first stage. A panel of jurors including architects Wendy Evans Joseph who helped design the U.S Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.; former Pritzker Prize winner Richard Meier; and Daniel Liebeskind, the planner commissioned to rebuild the World Trade Center site will then select six to ten finalists who will each be awarded $2,500 to develop a three-dimensional model and fully realized scheme for the site.

The deadline for early registration is February 15, 2010 and the final registration deadline is March 15, 2010. First-stage submissions are due on April 1, 2010.

Final selections will be displayed in various Atlantic City locations in a showcase exhibition that will likely be held this summer, at which time the community will also be given the opportunity to provide feedback and vote for their favorites. The winner will be announced in a public ceremony, with plans underway for the announcement to also take place at a possible gala fundraising event.

The competition is being sponsored by the Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial Corporation, a private, non-profit foundation chartered for the purpose of building the memorial, in conjunction with Atlantic City, which has donated a prime building site of 60 ft on the ocean side of the boardwalk between New York and Kentucky Avenues.

The site is considered one of the most highly trafficked locations on the East Coast, with the boardwalk’s 35 million annual visitors translating into about 10 million unique pedestrians. Currently, a seaside pavilion is occupying the site.

Entrants in the design competition are encouraged to contemplate the meaning of the Holocaust and genocide in our lives today, and to invent a fitting original design for this time and place.

“The opportunity to create a design for a Holocaust memorial on a majestic site at a present world-famous resort in our own state is very exciting,” said Jason Kliwinski, president of AIA-NJ. “Although this is an international competition, we hope our talented New Jersey architects, whose connection to our landscape runs deeper than that of architects from other states and countries, will be inspired to enter this prestigious competition.”

The purpose of the memorial, according to Rabbi Gordon Geller of Temple Emeth Shalom in Margate City, New Jersey and president of the ACBHM Corporation is “consciousness and inspiration.” The structure will serve as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust; a reminder of recent genocides, including those in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur; and an admonition to assume responsibility to protect human rights and fight persecution.

The entire memorial initiative will cost approximately $3 million to $5 million with the construction phase expected to take about a year to complete.