Age of the Anthropocene
The University of Texas at Austin
From the Jury:
We, as a discipline, debate constantly between telling stories and producing images. And this is a project that reclaims the right and the need to produce relevant images. Here, the images are a starting point for a design process, a way to generate discussion, like the one we had with the jury: Is there need for monuments? Is there a need to talk about the disappearance of nature? What’s the relationship between what man constructed and nature?
The city of Quito, Ecuador, has been deemed the biodiversity capital. Its 2008 passage of the “Right of Nature” pledged to protect all species’ rights to exist and flourish as an inherent part of life, and yet, with increasing habitat loss and climate change, it is estimated that up to 2,000 species worldwide become extinct every year.
In a studio tasked with reflecting on when and under what circumstances monumental architecture becomes an appropriate response for the built environment, the increasing tension between our values and reality was identified as a temporary opportunity to commemorate and preserve. This project proposes the erection of a mausoleum to the endangered species of the world.
Sited in the heart of the city at the location of Quito’s old airport, the monument’s vaults commemorate lost habitats, and representations of extinct species lie within them. This arc of flora and fauna would in time become a remnant piece of nature, perhaps even surviving, in a lifetime long after ours, as a ruin reinhabited by beings similar to those it once recalled.