"Climate Chronograph," by Erik Jensen
National Park Service "Climate Chronograph," by Erik Jensen

Today, Washington, D.C.'s, National Park Service, National Capital Planning Commission, and New York–based nonprofit Van Alen Institute announced the winner of “Memorials for the Future,” a competition launched in Oct. 2015 asking design professionals of various mediums to come up with conceptual memorials for Washington, D.C. The victorious project, “Climate Chronograph,” was designed by Bay Area landscape architects Erik Jensen and Rebecca Sunter, and will represent the inevitable displacement of people due to climate change by planting a parcel of land at Hains Point—a susceptible area in the southwest region of the nation’s capital between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel—with a series a cherry trees that will eventually perish from rising sea levels.

As the Van Alen Institute notes in its press release, this project is different since memorials built in the past generally look to the past, whereas this project looks to the future. As the Hains Point area is affected over time, the new memorial will stand as a real-time representation of our ongoing challenges with climate change.

A public exhibition spotlighting the winning project, along with the other finalists, will be held at the Hall of Nations at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (which will itself soon receive renovations by Steven Holl Architects) until Oct. 20.