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Project 1:
Memorial to Yourself

Duration: One Week

As the one-year anniversary of the attacks of 9.11 came and went last month, it was almost impossible not to re-experience the day, simply due to the barrage of media coverage. And, of course, the very real question exists as to how best to use the WTC site. As real estate it is probably too valuable to leave un-developed. Yet, as a memorial to those that died, a new building with a statue in front seems inadequate. Maybe annual re-broadcasts would make the best memorial? Would a commitment to honor the memory of the dead through broadcast media suit? Or does the memorial need to promise to last forever, like the Statue of Liberty in the "The Planet of the Apes"? or the great pyramids of Egypt?

Memorials may be part of grand site designs, like the Washington monument or the Jefferson Memorial, or woven more simply into the texture of the site, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Some are grand, like Lord NelsonŐs Column in Trafalgar Square; some poignantly simple, as the Peace park near University bridge.

LetŐs begin our exploration of architecture and time by looking at the design of a memorial. As a society, and as individuals, we express our values and our attitudes through these artifacts, their form, siting, materials, etc.

Assignment: Design a memorial to yourself, including an appropriate site. Cost is not an issue, but materials, siting, and form should support the message the memorial is designed to convey regarding you. Create visual representations of how it will look when new, and 100 years later. Prepare text (as for an interpretive pamphlet) that describes how it memorializes you.

Questions to think about:

  • What values or qualities of yours should the design convey or reflect?
  • What materials best represent those values?
  • What shape/configuration should the materials have to accomplish this?
  • What site will best complement and amplify the memorial artifact?
  • What does the site plan say about use of space, about visitor emotions?