May 11. 2027.
It was the night of the storm I will never forget. Rains beat down on the shingles of the house with blue siding. Our steps that provided escape were blocked by the creeping water. Earth shook as the ground cracked open to reveal the depth of the urban surface. Layers of time, palimpsest, bricks rock and soil, that serve as markers of our existence. Waters rushed, carving way for the mass of flood behind them. On this night, we were thankful we lived on 236’. Everyone that lived on 234’ and lower… were submerged. The first floor became a cistern as the waters sent people scrambling for higher ground.
This is a story about a catastrophe and how it changed the face of Memphis, TN. We sit idly by and watch our natural systems get conquered by engineering feats. Controlled nature becomes angry and will revolt. This project is an attempt to reconcile this potential conflict with a responsive urban intervention that anchors us in the fluid landscape. Architectural solutions become the grounding mechanisms that connect deep earth to the ephemeral nature of the clouds. The architecture of the ground plane undulates to encapsulate space and weave through the series of rooted structures, breathing air back into the stifled city horizontally and vertically.
The project is a landscape of critique, an urban gesture of connection and a series of architectures of engagement. It questions the paradigms put in place over the past century that privileges the need for stability within the urban landscape and explores the potential of the fusion of many forces to create unified woven habitat for both people and urban fauna. A landscape of butterflies and birds, otters and tall grasses weaves through the urban landscape, holding, diverting and allowing water to soak into the porous ground.
1. Prepare the ground.
2. Resurface the city
3. Weave a new ‘scape
4. Connect earth to sky