Sustaining the memory [history] of place
Costanti, Peter John
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Our minds have the ability to recall and sustain memories, so why can't architecture do the same? Our built environment exhibits the ability to form expectations of the future, while conducting investigations into the past. Every place has an identity, a location, and a memory that characterizes its existence. Memory is a component that, at the moment, may be vacant within the context of our forgotten sites, our terrain vague. These places are currently unseen, ignored, or forgotten, but this does not mean the history is unworthy of resurrection. There is certainly a story that exists, that can classify, identify, and categorize the historic capacity of these places. Without paying homage to, and focusing awareness on our past, we risk losing it completely. As our industrial era evolves into the technological age, we face a decision: to bury our past industrial sites along with their collective memories, or embrace them well into the future. To address this topic I will research, plan, and design an appropriate solution to the port/waterfront area of Bellingham, Washington. This 170 acre location was once the home of the thriving Georgia Pacific pulp mill that has now been terminated due to economic changes. Not only has this site been socially forgotten, it has been physically mistreated and neglected with the introduction of toxins that affect and systematically dismantle the local ecology. The importance of this site is evident because it represents industrial sites throughout our coastlines that have been closed down and/or re-programmed. Without proper recognition, we will be unable to sustain the historical relevance of this site, along with many more. Our society should always keep one foot in the past while making a simultaneous stride towards the future.