REFUGIUM: THE NEW MEXICO TREE MEMORIAL
JD Scott, AIA
Refugium (n.) – an area in which a population of organisms can survive through a period of unfavorable conditions.
Current models predict that the American Southwest will lose 72% of its needleleaf forests by the year 2050. With increased drought and average global temperatures, these ecosystems are expected to vanish altogether by 2100. This project envisions a memorial dedicated to the issue of regional-scale ecosystem loss using a prototypical site in Northern New Mexico, the epicenter of this advancing crisis.
The design concept consists of three components:
This project envisions a dual role for memorials of the Anthropocene. At a time of imminent environmental collapse, these institutions must become places for mourning, memory, and respite, while simultaneously serving as advocates for swift and systemic change – stark and urgent warnings to places where native ecosystems might still be saved, and storytelling devices to visitors on a geologic time scale.
Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Unbuilt / Conceptual
Building Area: 650,000sf
Structure: Rammed earth, mass timber megastructure
Major Materials & Systems: ETFE envelope, carbon sequestration structures
Site: Speculative / future site; deforested, high desert grassland
Sustainability Features: Intensive green roof, carbon neutrality, green advocacy