Memorials for the Future Winner Presents Grim Future for DC's Hains Point

Washington, D.C. is filled with memorials that commemorate events and people of the past, but a new memorial concept is meant to give people a glimpse of what could be the future of the city's landscape.

On Thursday, the National Park Service, National Capital Planning Commission and Van Alen Institute announced that Climate Chronograph has won the Memorials for the Future contest.

The winning memorial design reimagines Hains Point in Southwest with cherry trees and shows how those trees would wither and die as the sea level rises over time.

"Climate Chronograph, the winning concept, is a forward-looking memorial that takes a complex global process— climate change—and turns it into a tangible, personal experience," said the National Capital Planning Commission in a news release.

Climate Chronograph, designed by Bay Area-based landscape architects Erik Jensen and Rebecca Sunter, beat three other Memorials for the Future finalists.

The other three finalists were each recognized with honorable mentions:

  • American Wild: A Memorial, which would project 59 national parks on the walls and ceilings of Metro stations.
  • The Im(migrant): Honoring the Journey proposed creating a podcast tribute to immigrants that D.C.'s bus riders could hear on major bus routes across D.C.
  • VOICEOVER, which would display "storytelling parrots" to existing monuments and memorials.

An exhibit showcasing the designs and concepts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will run through Oct. 20. Members of the four teams will also be at the exhibition from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday.

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