Ruins, Memory, and the Imagination
Menokin, an eighteenth-century Virginia plantation site, is characterized by the presence of the unique and historic ruins of a neo-Palladian house. In my proposal for the site, ruins are considered to be inert matter onto which visitors project their own ideas, memories, and perceptions. To that end, the intervention considers the ruin not as architecture, but as an object–an object laden with the matter of history and memory. This inert matter must be activated by Architecture, empowering people not only to understand the past, but also to imagine the possible.
The specific ruin strategy is to juxtapose floating planes of light against the object as an act of reduction and defamiliarization. Upon close inspection, it is clear that the vertical planes are horizontally punctured, allowing the charged internal space of the ruin to be occupied. Meanwhile, a visitor center positions itself to be subservient to this strategy and to the objectified reading of the ruin at a distance. As part of an overall plan for the site, the role of the visitor center is to focus on the material culture of Menokin, exhibiting architectural and archaeological artifacts that help to deepen one’s understanding of the site as part of a historical and cultural continuum.
After completing the above project for an option studio at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, I was invited to work with the architecture firm Machado Silvetti to build a model of their proposal for the Menokin Foundation. I was also asked to help curate and design an exhibition of student work, which took place at the Virginia Center for Architecture in the winter of 2014. Links below to my portfolio entries for the other two projects