The Never Ending Memories
My project is dedicated to my hometown Kumamoto in Japan that was severely damaged by an earthquake last year. Right now many residents, who became victims, are trying to overcome the tragedy of this disaster. One of the symbols of recovery is the restoration of the Kumamoto Castle in the city center. However, in my opinion, it will be difficult for the people of Kumamoto and the visitors to memorise and learn about disasters from a completely restored castle. My proposal is to create a monumental theme park by re-using the ruins of the castle to share the tragedies and memories for all people. This theme park is thus not just a recreational facility but also a device to help each other deal with traumas and powerfully find consolation.
The Embalming Disaster City
My thesis originates from the idea what I can do as a designer in a situation like my hometown Kumamoto, which suffered an earthquake. For my research I used my own past experiences as a volunteer in other damaged cities in Japan. I also examined various monuments where memories of disasters are shared. Based on my experiences and case studies I structured my research according to three elements: Healing, Learning and Celebrating. I explain why and how they need to be part of the reconstruction of facilities to memorise severe disasters like earthquakes. In the conclusion I focus on the design challenges they provide for the urban revitalisation of Kumamoto in a part where the historical castle is currently being restored.