Skip Navigation

Memorials for the Future

Some content on this page is saved in an alternative format. To view these files, download the following free software.


A free public exhibition showcasing the winner and finalists' design concepts was held from September 8 through October 20, 2016 in the Hall of Nations at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Competition Winner

To view a high resolution version, click on the image.

Team Report Press Release

Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mention for Futurism and Reinterpretation
Team Report

Honorable Mention for Marrying the Ephemeral and Iconic
Team Report

Honorable Mention for American Heritage and Community
Team Report

Winner and Finalists' Design Concepts

Key Findings

Not Set in Stone: Memorials for the Future

This document highlights key findings from Memorials for the Future, presenting the ideas that best push forward our collective notions of memorialization.

View Report

Engage the Present and Future as Much as the Past

In Washington today, 25 years must pass before a person's life may be commemorated, and ten years before a war is eligible for a built memorial. But it is not just the past that warrants reflection. Events that unfold around us every day can be as compelling and culturally important. The tools of memorialization can help people learn about and appreciate recent events, important issues, and on-going trends and experiences that impact their lives directly. New memorial approaches could be useful vehicles for sharing information, collective reflection, and even serve as a call to action.

Allow for Changing Narratives

As time passes, new information is exposed and cultural values shift, sometimes creating disconnects between a memorial's original message and representation and modern day perceptions. There will always be a need to incorporate perspectives that were either recently developed or previously marginalized. Future memorials need to address this challenge and represent diverse narratives. Only in doing so can a memorial reflect and honor the multiple truths and complex histories of national subjects.

Universal Experiences in Addition to Places, People, and Events

Often memorials commemorate subjects of significant events, important places, or individuals of great accomplishment. While these subjects can yield powerful, enduring memorials—the Lincoln and Vietnam memorials, for example—this leaves opportunity to commemorate more universal experiences shared by many people over time. When we plan future memorials, we have the opportunity to reflect on subjects faced by all people. Indeed, in this competition, the majority of teams commemorated subjects that relate to the public at large and speak to national and even universal experiences.

Use Local Settings for National Issues

Some issues like climate change and immigration may feel abstracted in national debate, but smart design can create real opportunities to engage with and understand these issues in a personal way. Furthermore, as memorial development shifts beyond the National Mall into the city's neighborhoods, a balance must be found between commemorative space and public space. Here we see an opportunity for memorials that resonate at the local level, making abstract issues immediate for those who encounter these memorials on a daily basis.

Create Memorials with the Public as well as for the Public

Inviting the public to shape memorials, either during the initial planning process or after construction, can help ensure that they are valued by communities in which they reside and that the many perspectives of those communities are well reflected. Our current commemoration process provides opportunities for community engagement and feedback. With the right design, however, the process can go farther, offering individuals the chance to make personal contributions that become a part of the actual memorial itself.

Consider Ephemeral, Mobile, and Temporary Forms

Typically, existing memorials are permanent, requiring visitors to be physically present to experience a memorial. Future memorials could be temporary or mobile. By moving around a city, relocating to different cities, or existing for limited periods of time, a memorial has the potential to ignite enthusiasm. The AIDS Memorial Quilt, a living memorial to those who have died of AIDS, has been viewed by 14 million people around the world since its creation in 1987. Though well-documented and photographed, the ability to move the Quilt, allowing people to view and host the memorial in different locations has aided its visibility and impact.

Memorials Beyond Physical Space

Through their proposals, our finalist teams showed us that memorials have the opportunity to enhance existing places. But many of our semifinalists, using clever applications of technology, pointed out that memorials can transcend the need for physical spaces altogether. Technology allows people to connect around subject matter in ways that don't require central squares or physical infrastructure. As Washington continues to develop, space for new monuments becomes harder to find. Memorials that require little to no land are critically important to meeting the challenges of the future.

Challenges Our Future Memorials Face

Imagine the future, consider technologies not yet developed, and do it all in a few months: The competition asked the teams to do the impossible. While each finalist team developed an innovative 21st-century commemorative approach, all of their proposals had weaknesses. Through the competition process, we discussed and explored these shortcomings as a critical component to understanding challenges. We identified three main themes: curation, technology, and place-making. This competition left us asking: How do we develop a memorial that is inclusive, respectful, and that also lacks censorship? How do we plan for technologies we can't yet imagine, and a future in which new technologies continue to transform how we share information, interact with spaces, and interact each other? How do we create spaces that are both valuable to residents and to visitors?

Resources: Overview

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.

Memorials enshrine what we as a society want to remember. But the places, people, and stories that we memorialize, and the audiences who engage with them are constantly changing. A memorial tells its story through subject matter and design. This story is often complex and multi-dimensional, as a memorial's interpretive elements embody ideas of identity, culture, and heritage, and each has intensely personal interpretations for every individual.

As a national capital, Washington is a place of collective memory. The wealth of monuments sited throughout the city take on heightened significance as they reflect relationships among nations, of national remembrance, and of many important events and figures in our history. Often the traditional and fixed nature of memorial design does not allow for adaptation and redefinition over time and does not encourage more than one interpretation of a given narrative.

The traditional approach to developing memorials in Washington has resulted in a commemorative landscape that is thematically similar and increasingly land-intensive, which poses challenges for Washington, and has long-term implications for the potential uses of a memorial's surrounding park setting.

The planning and design process is often costly and lengthy, which limits opportunities to groups or individuals with significant resources. Current trends raise a number of questions about the future of Washington's memorial landscape and the ability to provide space and resources for future commemorative works.

The goals of the competition are to create new approaches to and forms of memorializing that:
  • Advance a framework for the planning and design of commemorative works in the 21st century.
  • Demonstrate how temporary, mobile, interactive or adaptive displays can provide powerful and memorable experiences that are cost-efficient.
  • Develop ways to commemorate that are inclusive of multiple narratives and have the potential to be flexible as perspectives change.
  • Honor the scale, context and national significance of Washington, DC.
The competition results will be displayed online and at an exhibition in Washington, DC, published in an illustrated report, and will inform NPS, NCPC, and their partners on future design and policy opportunities.
  • May 4, 2016 – Submission Deadline
  • Early June 2016 – Top Four Finalist Teams Notified
  • June 8, 2016 – Competition Launch Event
  • Mid-July, 2016 – Design Framework Working Session (Exact dates TBD)
  • Early August, 2016 – Final Presentation
  • August 8, 2016 – Final Deliverables Due
  • September 8, 2016 – Announcement of Competition Winner & Exhibition Launch
The competition proposals should be based on specific places or areas in Washington DC. Proposals may take a physical form or may be virtual. Preference will be given to teams that propose a site or sites outside of the National Mall. The following locations are suggestions reflecting typical opportunity sites for new memorials in Washington:

Near the monumental core: The Belvedere
The Belvedere is located on waterfront parkland within West Potomac Park and is bounded by the Potomac River to the west, the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge to the north, and the Rock Creek Parkway to the east. The Belvedere is also situated between the Kennedy Center to the north and the Lincoln Memorial to the south, providing a visual link between the two structures. The Belvedere is the historic terminus of the western end of Constitution Avenue and provides open vistas across the Potomac River to Virginia, as well as the natural environment of Rock Creek and West Potomac Parks.

Within a residential area: Randle Circle or Tenley Circle
Memorials must be integrated with community uses and goals for public plazas and open space. Implementation of new memorials within the city's residential areas must be closely coordinated with neighborhood plans prepared by local residents and elected officials.

Randle Circle is located in a residential neighborhood in Southeast Washington, D.C. Randle Circle comprises two landscaped parcels that are associated with the intersection of Massachusetts and Minnesota Avenues, SE. The entrance to Fort Dupont Park, part of the National Park System and the Civil War Defenses of Washington, is located on Randle Circle. The character of the surrounding neighborhood should be considered in any future memorial for the site.

Tenley Circle is located in a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood setting and is within walking distance of the Tenleytown-American University Metro station. Tenley Circle comprises several landscaped parcels that are associated with the intersection of Wisconsin and Nebraska Avenues, NW. While the total land area associated with this site is significant, the central parcels, located on Wisconsin Avenue, are small and occupied by existing transit uses (bus stops). In conjunction with several out-parcels, Tenley Circle is suitable for commemorative features. The character of the surrounding neighborhood should be considered in any future memorial for the site.

Around a natural setting: Hains Point
Hains Point is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and is part of East Potomac Park. The site is bounded by the Washington Channel and the Potomac River shorelines and offers dramatic waterfront vistas within the established open space setting of the park. Adjoining park uses include passive and active recreation such as golf, swimming, jogging, and biking. Existing site conditions are waterfront landscaped parkland with open lawn areas and clusters of trees. The site is accessible throughout the year by vehicle from Ohio Drive. Although East Potomac Park is envisioned as the location for future commemorative works, Hains Point has not been specifically designated as the location for a memorial.

A couple looking at a sculpture and a map of Washington dc
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Indiscriminate Victims of Global Terrorism
Team: Lauren Brown, Anne Graves, Mandy Mills, Kelli Groskopf
An Urgent Task
Twenty years ago, “terrorism” was a foreign word in the garbled mouths of most Americans. Today, it rolls of the tongue. It strikes hard and quick and is instantly life altering for the loved ones of those it affects. We live in an uncertain world. Even the most innocent among us are at risk when we are doing nothing more than living our daily lives. A memorial that recognizes the indiscriminate victims of terrorism does not seek specific names or even numbers. Instead, it seeks humanity. It seeks listeners. In the words of JFK, “we have no more urgent task.”
Four people holding smart phones
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Team: Jennifer Sage, Peter Coombe, Alicia Cheng, Phil Gillman, Oren Weingrod, Alex Dodge, Ezer Longinus, Johnny Lu, Jeffrey Jay, Matthew Karp, Katherine Hill
It starts with the marker, or M.A.R.K. (Memorial Augmented Reality Key), and with an App of the same name. Scan the M.A.R.K., and your phone engages an RFID, GPS, and your camera. As your screen pans over the existing landscape, it adds a visual and auditory layer of history to the existing scene. In the top left corner is a simple timeline, with an icon dragged all the way to the right: the present. Slide left, and you are transported backwards through historical “moments” in time – the landscape changes, people come and go; you listen to their stories or record your own.

People sitting on a lawn looking up at a balloon
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
The Pop-up Portal
Team: Laura Ju Wang, Raymond Chau
The Pop-up Portal provides a simple and direct proposal for instantly constructing and sharing the collective experience of commemoration from multiple geographical locations, consequently weaving a more inclusive and adaptive network of memorials. Because of the advancement of communication technology and social media today, the impact for each current event is much more far reaching and immediate than the past. The significance of a singular geographical memorial location becomes less important compared to the influence of a series of response network working as a collective organism. The modular immersive system is able to adapt to various environments, allowing it to embrace future technological advancement and the evolving demands of its users.
A lady cooking and a newspaper
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Recovery Project
Team: Jose Ruiz, Natalie Cambell, James Huckenpahler, Patrick McDonough
Future memorials need to consider new means for communicating powerful stories, engaging audiences, and activating public spaces. RECOVERY PROJECT is an endeavor by the collective FURTHERMORE to honor collective memory by re-animating the content of memorials that speak to our present moment with renewed urgency, yet are limited by their present form. Using tools from new media, social practice, oral history, pedagogy and community organizing, the team plans to virtually ‘transport’ existing memorials, deconstruct them, and reimagine them in communities where their subject finds renewed relevance. In doing so we commemorate something not yet lost but perpetually threatened: the commons.

Landscape drawing plan with pictures of a plaza on the river
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorial River Promenade
Team: Robert Shutler
A mere 500 feet south of the Lincoln Memorial is a neglected waterfront on the Potomac. This proposal seeks to establish the Memorial River Promenade that creates a critical mass of attractions by concentrating one hundred memorials between the river’s edge and Ohio Drive, SW in West Potomac Park. It would take the form of a 2/3 mile linear pedestrian path lined on both sides with designated memorial sites spaced fifty feet apart.

At even intervals would be six large plazas dedicated to national events, detailed to match the Memorial Bridge aesthetic and projecting 30 feet into the River as bastions.

Memorials could take any appropriate form approved by the Fine Arts Commission: sculptures, fountains, holographs, light shows, water craft formations, interactive displays, gardens or other permanent or temporal displays.

Flowering Natchez crepe myrtle trees would occupy the spaces between and around memorial sites. Continuing the tradition of flowering trees, but not competing with the cherry blossoms, they would form blooming white cloud from June through September.
Earth removed from the desert and the tidal basin
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Content of Confinement
Team: Mehan Jones Shiotani
Contents of Confinement is a memorial exchange between “site” (Topaz Internment Camp, Utah) and “nonsite” (Hains Point, DC). The memorial extracts and isolates a large stone fragment of the now-abandoned internment site and relocates it for a period of four years, one month and one day (the length of American internment). The process of removal and reinstallation mirrors Japanese-American transplantation from cosmopolitan cities into barren desert prisons and highlights the contrast between environments. Enclosed on all four sides within the ‘nonsite’, the monolith is reflected as an infinite grid of barren ground by mirrored walls, fostering an experience of entrapment and isolation within an infinite and inescapable desert city. The process and period of extraction leaves an unmarked void behind at Topaz - an image of disappearance and seizure. After the internment period, the extraction is returned to Topaz - worn, eroded and changed forever by its own internment.

People in a park with ashes scattered in the shape of a symbol
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Team: Devin Jernigan, Rong Chen
Cultur-altar is a memorial for sacrifice; and a sacrifice of gifts to an altar for humanity.
Initially, the Cultur-altar is a memorial in Eastern Market Park for the artist formerly known as Prince. The Cultur-altar will function as a meeting place for public events, such as public speeches and concerts. Visitors are asked to bring images, letters, and other items of personal significance, regarding the memorialized person, issue, or narrative, to the celebration and cast them into the altar as gifts to humanity. The gifts will be ceremonially burned on the altar, then spread in the form of Prince’s symbol.
People launching pods into water
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Team: Ananth Robert Sampathkumar, Mary Kohilam Chandrahasan, Runit Chhayya, Sapna Advani
‘Noah’s Ark’ serves as a potent reminder of an ongoing and seemingly unsolvable issue of migrant movement and resettlement. The fabrication and assembly structure, sited at Hains Point, produces a series of in-situ pods that are equipped and dispersed into the Potomac River and slowly and their way through the Chesapeake bay and into the Atlantic Ocean. Each pod is equipped with a plant bed, a gps, photovoltaic cells, a small motor, camera and ship sensor that enables it to track and find ships via online marine traffic maps, and tag onto them. As the larger ships traverse the seas, some pods disintegrate along the way while others reach new shores. The pods eventually become part of a large ecosystem around the world. These vessels are trackable online and are intended to draw attention to the virtual portal which will become the most reliable database for host countries and migrants. The eventual aim of ‘Noah’s Ark’ is to set in motion a large repository of information that can help refugees with their search for new frontiers, and countries in managing the ebb and flow of citizens and hopefuls alike.

Concrete scruture in water and the Washington Monument
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorials for the Future Lost Cities
Team: Diann Bauer, Rodney C. Devera, Felice Grodin, Patricia Margarita Hernandez, Elite Kedan
Sea level rise in the coming century is predicted to change the shape of America's coastal cities. Neighborhoods and potentially whole cities will be lost or altered beyond recognition. We are proposing an elevated structure built on Hains Point to commemorate these cities. It will house a small exhibition space, a covered picnic/play area and a server to host a digital library dedicated to the evolution of these urban spaces through documenting their pasts, the construction of their futures and the daily lived experience of those of us living through these changes.
A bike with pod storage and people in a park
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Team: Katie Hargrave, Amber Ginsburg, Meredith Lynn
monYOUment is a mobile-monument-making unit, allowing district residents to tell their own history, turning the power of memorialization from official bodies to the individuals whose history is made day by day. Using Indiana Limestone, the “nation’s building stone” used to make the Washington Monument, the Capitol, and other famous sites, the everyday history of a neighborhood is recorded through small stone markers, a hand carved map highlighting the locations, and a log of stories associated with each micro-monument.

Aerial map of Tenley Circle with the center highlighted
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorials for Native American
Team: Andrew Conzett, Andrew Manto, Andrew Lang, Andrew Johnson, Taylor Keen, Emily Brush, Alex Priest
Few ethnic groups have narratives as complex as the Native American community. During the first half of the 1800s and throughout the Midwest, United States history wrote a saddening story of loss, control, and re-appropriation for Native American groups. Since that time, Native groups have undergone significant challenges to care take, curate, and continue their storied cultures. One way of telling their stories has been through the creation of memorials. Traditionally, these memorials have been literal representations of people or events built or carved from metal and stone. Interested in discovering new ways of storytelling, our team will reinterpret concepts of boundary and separation, land art, and traditional craft by employing contemporary investigations of built form, urban planning, audiovisual techniques, and materials. Through this process, we will develop a concept for a memorial that provides a meaningful narration of contemporary Native American culture and community.
A cluster of lights in a cicle
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Personal Tragedy
Team: Alex McClure, Babak Bryan, Russell Cotner, Morgan Silver-Greenberg, Lindsay Stern, Bevan Weissman
In mainstream American culture, grief is marginalized, even stigmatized. When a person falls in public, strangers rush to his aid; when he breaks down in tears, they avoid eye contact. By restricting their focus to the legacies of canonized figures and events, most memorials miss an opportunity to address that taboo on the public expression of grief and engage participants in the act of mourning. Our memorials would work toward that goal by integrating interactive, sustainable monuments to personal tragedy within the context of daily metropolitan life.

A meadow with trees and someone spreading seeds
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Re-frame, Re-cast, Re-tell: Freedom Stories along the Anacostia
Team: Nathan Heavers, Paul Kelsch, Laurel McShervry, David Bayer, Rebekah Lawrence
Our proposal extends the memorial landscape of Washington, DC, east across the Anacostia River to connect its southeast neighborhoods with the capital’s commemorative landscapes. The proposed Anacostia Memorial Forest would be inaugurated with three commemorative works—a realignment of the existing Anacostia Drive as a memorial parkway, and two new projects nested within it honoring the legacy of Anacostia resident and freed slave Frederick Douglass. The intention of the memorial forest and Frederick Douglass Memorial Parkway is to reunite nearby communities with the riverfront, and provide future sites for commemorative works centered on the theme of emancipation. The Nursery for Three Million Trees, commemorating the individuals emancipated during the Civil War, provides a seedling for each visitor to plant at a location of his or her choosing. The Cedar Grove defines a clearing within a planting of Eastern red cedars, the symbolic tree of Frederick Douglass’ enslavement. Within this seasonally cultivated glade, visitors cast seeds of remembrance; its meadows recording their gestures, while reframing and retelling their freedom stories.
Aerial picture of Hains Point with a check mark over the picture
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorial to Democracy
Team: Richard Hall, Chantal Fischzang, David Frisco, Leigh Mignogna, Natalie Sims
What does it mean to have a memorial to democracy? We will encourage a collaborative effort to define what democracy means to the citizens of Washington D.C. In so doing we will create a space for the contemplation and questioning of the term democracy in both a physical and digital setting. Simple ephemeral check marks will be formed into tangible material objects, literally adding weight and depth to our individual marks as citizens. Can a memorial be educational, topical and immediate even when the subject is over 1,500 years old. We think it can.

An outside building wall with a streetlight
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
The Digital Layers : Memorial as Platform
Team: Brian Corrigan, Juana Medina, Carrie Saldo, Justin Giltlin
THE DIGITAL LAYER // MEMORIAL AS PLATFORM imagines a world where any surface can be an interface and physical spaces have operating systems. The digital layer will be home to hardware and software that is networked together, transforming public spaces into a new digital frontier. The interactive platform gives the community agency over the memorial sites, content and viewing times. Under the Creative Commons, the public gains access to the assets that power the digital layer—code, graphics, sounds, templates and source files. The system reimagines the potential of memorials as a catalyst for collaboration, opportunity, innovation and wonder.
A hologram of a person on a pedestal
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorial to Public Space
Team: Paul M. Farber, Ken Lum, Will Brown, Randall Mason, Laurie Allen, Nilay Lawson
Memorial to Public Space investigates and explores public parks as sites for creative historical reflections, remixes, and resonance. The project draws on layers of cultural memory within one of Washington DC’s most storied neighborhood parks with a guiding question: Who could be memorialized in the public space of Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park? Passersby will be invited to respond in a daytime design studio with proposals of digitally-rendered sculptures and curate a procession of spectral light monuments projected around the park at night. Memorial to Public Space is envisioned by Monument Lab, a Philadelphia-based public art and history collective.

Stacked boxes listing constitutional rights
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
The Foundation of Freedom
Team: Josep van Lieshout, Harm Verhagen, Eva Olde Monnikhof, Rookje Meijerink, Natalie Kovacs
We are proud to contribute to the Memorials for the Future competition with two works designed specifically for Washington D.C. Both works are based upon the idea of the Foundation of Freedom and act as a constant reminder that life and freedom are worth fighting for and moreover should be cherished now, and in the future. ‘The nucleus of existence’ celebrates the beginning of everything that surrounds us and the importance of life. The Constitutional Grinder reminds the onlooker of the fundaments of the U.S. constitution whilst providing a sneak peek behind the doors of the Supreme Court.
People standing in front of a light display of a cityscape
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
You Are Here… Elsewhere
Team: Matthieu Tercieux, Céline Prudhon, Edouard Souillot
"You are here... elsewhere" is an interactive and participative installation at the crossroads of different video-graphic languages, such as documentaries, animation drawing, video games, interaction, etc. It is a hybrid form giving the viewer a look at public space as an interactive space. The creation of “You are here...elsewhere” is based on a participative process, an artistic and territorial immersion conducted with the residents. Before the installation, workshops are organized with the residents. It gives the opportunity to place the public in the heart of the creation. Their voices, stories, graphic and pictogram works are incorporated into the installation to create an intimate and participative piece of art.

People standing near a shelf in a plaza
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Home for the Homeless
Team: Sean Spillane, Andrew Economou
In an age where social media and other platforms give one person the means to reach millions, Memorials for the Future seek to make this virtual platform a physical reality. Memorials should seek to be “facilitated,” as opposed to “curated,” which allows the audience to participate directly in the process of placemaking. The future of memorial design is found within the masses, crowdsourcing the experience of remembrance. These monuments are personal, flexible, and vary in experience with each passing day. Its focus is fixed but the narrative has no end; reflecting the changing times, themes, and sentiments within a given subject.
Map of Washington, DC, monuments, and an inverted pyramid
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorial for Otherness
Team: Anirban Adhya, Moumita Mukherjee, Sukirti Ghosh, Banhi Bhattachyra, Debargha Sengupta
The Memorial for Otherness pushes the boundaries of WHAT and HOW we memorialize. It challenges the predominant notion of memorials that embody power and stature and propose memorializing issues such as women’s rights and immigration as a public discourse. Two manifestations that allow visitors to create and participate and also flexible, replicable, adaptable and scalable – have been proposed. The first is an Inverted Pyramid facilitating visitors to declare their stance using selfies - a dynamic documentary of the ephemeral nature of social perspective. The second, a Solar Doodle, a crowdsourced, semi-physical and three dimensional take of on Google’s Doodle.

A smart phone, map of Washington DC, and the Jefferson Memorial
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Virtual Memorial
Team: Marc Roehrle, Mo Zell, Phil Troutman
The roles of memorials are multifaceted. Not only do they commemorate an event, place, or individual(s) they become destinations. Of greater significance, they produce an effect onto the user; who are forever changed based on their interaction with the memorial. This suggests that memorials’ role as cultural relevance does not necessarily rely or depend on their physicality. The Virtual Memorial is an APP that allows users to engage with the city. They can download different curated walks that alert the user via GPS of significant events that had occurred at that specific site as they stroll through the city. These events become visceral because they are place specific. The user is connected to the event/place transcended through time. The following is a list of possible Virtual Memorials:
- Lost Washington DC - buildings/places lost
- Solomon Northup’s Kidnapping Path
- Underground Railroad & anti-slavery activity
- Fredrick Douglas Path
- 1835 Snow Riot
A map of Washington DC, a leaf, a frog and a tree
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
A Memorial to BioDiversity
Team: Ian Horton, Steven Chavez, Aaron Clark, Brain Gerick
A MEMORIAL TO BIODIVERSITY. We propose a range of memorial processes to be sited primarily in riparian zones of the city - inherently dynamic land areas adjacent to creeks and rivers. These processes will range in duration and permanence and include the planting of trees, the stenciling and stickering of public sites with tributes to extinct species, and the seasonal dyeing of storm sewers, creeks, and rivers by communities across the city. It is hoped that these acts of memorialization will render themselves irrelevant by helping to renew the conditions for biodiversity and a dynamic stability to the planet.

A highway interchange with rocks and tree roots
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Commemorating Personal Experiences with Climate Change
Team: Anita Bakshi, Jennifer Newell, Brian C. Black, Frank Gallagher
Plans have just been announced for the first large-scale relocation of a community within the continental United States, due to sea level rise. While the physical consequences of climate change have been well documented, the emotional cost of the associated environmental degradation is not well understood. This proposal will provide a spatial response reflective of the ecological consequences of climate change that also examines the emotional challenges. Grief, loss, anxiety, and despair need to be addressed, so that people can reflect upon and process change, perhaps moving from collective expression to greater collective action. The proposed memorial garden and trail near the SW Ecodistrict will emphasize sensory experiences and embodied modes of learning, non-linear narratives, and areas of flexible programming and interpretive installations that bring together art and science.
A woman sitting at a bus stop in front of a building
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Neighborhood Memorials
Team: Amy Young, Milton Young
“Neighborhood Memorials” invites residents to participate in creating memorials in their own neighborhood. The project will design 3-5 types of memorials that combine existing city infrastructure and resources—walls, bus shelters, trees in parks, sunlight—with low-cost exhibit materials created specifically for the memorial, such as portable projectors or large shadow art. The team will develop the framework and work with neighborhood residents to create content for each memorial. Memorials will be located in easily accessible places, such as transit hubs and local parks. While there will be a few frameworks, each memorial will be different in how it interacts with its site, in its content.

People standing near buildings with a light sculpture
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
The Installation of 6 Million Stars
Team: Dr. Judi Gor Zimmerman, H. de Vrught ir., Thalia Gur Klein
The design incorporates an interactive method to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. The installation is built out of two joined open triangles. The installation illumines glints suggesting images of Stars against a dark background. Based on digital means and by touch, the Stars are activated by the visitors, linking each Star to a victim's name and his/her biography. Participants are activating Stars at the same time, through the internet and at the location. As a result the Star composition is constantly changing. The digital method will encourage young participants to get involved.
A map of the USA, bullets and a cell phone
(Image credit: Courtesy of the National Park Service)
Memorial to Victims of Gun Violence in America
Team: Jessica Jamroz, Robert Otani, Rich Cherry, Nancy Proctor
Our initial concept proposes small fountains shaped as individual States, wherein the invisible demarcation of ‘State Lines’ become pathways, uniting the nation through the very lines that ‘divide us’ into states.

The jets of the fountains of each “State” will throb in accordance with the State statistics of gun violence, waters will build up over time, becoming more turbulent with the loss of life within each State. Over time, some states may be showing greater signs of pulsation, drawing attention to tumult waters of individual ‘State’ fountains. From mobile phones, visitors to the memorial will be able to access information at each ‘State fountain’ about Gun Violence statistics, legislation and current events by State and by Nation.

Resources: Background Information

The following resources are intended to provide applicants with background information and the existing context of memorials in Washington, DC. The competition partners encourage applicants to think broadly about commemoration beyond the existing trends, approaches, and processes for the planning and development memorials in the nation's capital.

Resources: Latest News