Climate Chronograph, Memorials for our Future

Not Set in Stone: Climate Chronograph envisions our Memorials for the Future

Via Van Alen Institute

Climate Chronograph, by Bay Area-based landscape architects Erik Jensen and Rebecca Sunter, is named the winning concept for Van Alen Institute’s Memorials for the Future ideas competition in collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS) and National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC).

The ideas competition asked us all to reimagine the way we think about, feel, and experience memorials in our nation’s capital. The winning team's memorial turns climate change into a tangible, personal experience using a grove of cherry trees and the unpredictable flooding of surrounding rising seas. As the trees slowly succumb to the rising waters of the Potomac River, they will serve as poignant reminders of our vulnerability and response. While memorials conventionally commemorate a moment in the past, this initially traditional-looking memorial offers a reimagined landscape and a living observatory that allows people to interact with the space as it evolves unpredictably over time.

Selected finalists exhibited key characteristics, which will uniquely inform and help expand our approach to memorialization in the future. They illustrated how memorials can engage the present and future as much as the past, allow for changing narratives, acknowledge universal experiences as well as discrete places, people and events, use local settings for national issues, create with the public as well as for the public, take on ephemeral, mobile, and temporary forms, and move beyond the physical space.

You can view all of the projects online, or attend a free public exhibition showcasing the winner and finalists’ design concepts runs through October 20, 2016 in the Hall of Nations at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.