What will the memorials of the future look like?
What will the memorials of the future look like? "Climate Chronograph," the competition winner, would disappear over time as water levels rise in Washington, D.C. (Azimuth Land Craft)
What will the memorials of the future look like?
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Take a walk through Washington. You'll find plenty of marble memorials. These are rife with statues and staid plaques. But is that what the future of the memorial-rich city holds? If the winners of a new design competition have their way, probably not.
 
As Jason Sayer reports for The Architect's Newspaper, the memorials of tomorrow don't bear much resemblance to the ones that can be found in the District today.
 
The winners of the Memorials for the Future design competition recently were announced. The competition was co-sponsored by the National Park Service, National Capital Planning Commission and the Van Alen Institute. As Sayer reports, the six-month competition challenged participants to rethink memorials for Washington. And, help spark ideas for new types of memorials around the U.S.
 
Michelle Z. Donahue reported for Smithsonian.com earlier this summer that the competition invited submissions from teams throughout the world. There were 89 teams from eight countries. The teams garnered over 300 participants. Ultimately, 30 semifinalists were identified. From them, four finalists were selected by a jury of architects, planners, fine arts experts and Washington stakeholders. Though the memorials selected won't actually be built in the city, they were intended to spark discussion about how to think of memorials in a dramatically different future.
 
Climate Chronograph was the winning project by Team Azimuth Land Craft (San Francisco-based landscape architects Erik Jensen and Rebecca Sunter). It dramatically departs from memorials as we know them. The project memorializes the bleak legacy of climate change. It proposes a memorial at Hains Point. That's a spot nestled between the Potomac River and Washington Channel. Just 100 years ago, the manmade island was part of the river. It came into existence after the National Park Service decided to turn the confluence of the waters into a tidal basin. That was to protect the nearby National Mall from floods.
 
Those floods are expected to come more and more often as the climate changes. Climate Chronograph will memorialize those changes. Cherry trees will be planted as a kind of tidal gauge. Future visitors will be able to determine just how much water levels have risen.
 
"Nature will write our story, our choices, into the landscape as we face this most vulnerable moment," the team writes in its project brief.
 
The winning concept may be bleak. But the larger competition is anything but. Honorable mention projects included a project that unleashes mechanical parrots. These would fly over the Jefferson Memorial and collect and retell stories about monuments. 
 
Another project was a podcast platform that puts immigrant stories on public transportation. And another was an interactive memorial that brings national parks to the D.C. Metro. The competition also produced a report that points to ways America can better memorialize the things that matter - strategies that could help cities save money and space.
 
That's good news, especially given that D.C.'s iconic Mall has been closed to new construction. The memorials of the future won't just turn collective memories toward the stories of new phenomena and groups like climate change and immigrants. Rather, it seems that they'll make use of space in new, creative ways. No marble needed.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/what-will-memorials-future-look/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What has changed that will influence the look of future monuments?
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COMMENTS (46)
  • aleahs-kul
    9/26/2016 - 12:33 p.m.

    Climate has an effect on memorials and wearing away the texture. I like the big stones to remember loved ones. I think there will be more creative ways and ideas to remember the lost and loved ones. They should still have something that means something more than just the person. It would be neat to have memorials that connect to the person in some way in how they lived. (69 words)

    • matthewm-kul
      9/27/2016 - 09:18 p.m.

      I agree because it is extremely important to remember the people that died especially the ones defending our country. I think we should also get more creative with the monuments and gravestones we build.

    • coltonw-kul
      9/29/2016 - 07:41 p.m.

      I like the idea of boulders for a memorial as well, but you're right, they need a little bit better ideas and after a few hundred years they will be gone.

      • codyp-kul
        9/30/2016 - 01:00 p.m.

        I say you should go and clean all the monuments not saying I'm going to but it will be done

  • sages-kul
    9/27/2016 - 11:36 a.m.

    honestly I feel like everything will be different in the future to the point that we won't be able to identify ourselves now. In my opinion we are running out of space, we control population of animals, but our population is ever growing and we'll run out of space. when we do run out of space, where will our body's go. Its possible we will result in a more compact style of cremation. unless we can find another place for the body's to go i cant see how we can find room for anything else but future is future so know one knows until the day comes

    • aleahs-kul
      9/27/2016 - 12:30 p.m.

      That’s interesting to think about where everything will go because we are running out of space I agree. I think everything will be changed very soon and fast. I am not a person of change, I like life now. (39 words)

    • jacoba-kul
      9/29/2016 - 12:33 p.m.

      This is why things such as abortion and the death sentence should be legal. At this point we need to reduce the population or terraform mars.

    • danielb-kul
      9/30/2016 - 10:21 a.m.

      This is a great point. Everything in the future will be different and there is no greater time to change things then the present. Hopefully the future will be as bright as we think.

  • gabbys-kul
    9/27/2016 - 12:30 p.m.

    I think that memorials will look the same in the future because if you change the memorials the meaning of the memorial will be the same.

  • andrewf-kul
    9/27/2016 - 03:58 p.m.

    I think it's pretty cool that they want to make changes to the monuments. However I don't think they should change the monuments. Some historic marks are meant to not change because it's a picture of our past and if you change the monument it's like throwing away that picture.

  • matthewm-kul
    9/27/2016 - 09:16 p.m.

    I think this is a good decision because it will not only save marble and other resources but also save the environment. I think that the whole point of them doing this is to help improve the environment for the future which I think is an amazing idea.

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