'Climate Chronograph', proposed by Azimuth Land Craft members Erik Jensen and Rebecca Sunter, is a finalist for the National Park Service (NPS) competition, 'Memorials for the Future'. 'Climate Chronograph' is a living observatory wherein rising seas incrementally flood cherry trees to author bare-branched delineations of shorelines past. Continually rewritten by the object of contemplation itself, the memorial is a record of the challenges before us, a public witness to our vulnerability and response. Graphic: Azimuth Land Craft / National Park Service

By Sara Peach
2 September 2016

(Yale Climate Connections) – Sea level rise will have a significant impact on coastal communities as the world warms in the coming decades. But it happens too slowly to easily see.

Now, designers Erik Jensen and Rebecca Sunter want to give people a tangible way to mark the change. They’ve proposed Climate Chronograph, a new memorial in Washington, D.C., and it’s one of four final designs in the Memorials for the Future competition by the National Park Service.

Their idea is to plant a field of cherry trees on Hains Point – a vulnerable spot for sea-level rise in the nation’s capital. As the saltwater floods the land, the trees closest to the shore will begin to die. And as the years pass, row after row of trees will turn brown, providing a visible marker of rising seas. A raised walkway will allow visitors to see the results. [more]

Designers Memorialize Sea-Level Rise


About the Competition

The National Park Service (NPS), the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), and Van Alen Institute are collaborating on Memorials for the Future, an ideas competition to reimagine how we think about, feel, and experience memorials.

Memorials for the Future calls for designers, artists, and social scientists to develop new ways to commemorate people and events that are more inclusive and flexible, and that enrich Washington's landscape while responding to the limitations of traditional commemoration. As NPS celebrates its centennial in 2016, Memorials for the Future creates new ideas for honoring our diverse histories, heritage, and culture.

The entries will be narrowed to four teams to participate in a research and design process, working closely with the competition partners to develop site-specific designs for memorials in Washington, DC, that are adaptive, ephemeral, virtual, event-focused, or interactive. The teams' proposals will advance a framework for the design of 21st-century memorials and provide future memorial sponsors with fresh approaches to commemorating their subject matter.

Climate Chronograph

Team: Azimuth Land Craft
Members: Erik Jensen, Rebecca Sunter

Climate Chronograph is a living observatory wherein rising seas incrementally flood cherry trees to author bare branched delineations of shorelines past. Continually rewritten by the object of contemplation itself, the memorial is a record of the challenges before us, a public witness to our vulnerability and response.

Memorials for the Future

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