The Extinctive Monument

the inverted pyramid eroding over time

Type: Self-Destructive Monument

Year: 2015

Status: Schematic Design 

Location: Mexico City, Mexico

Team: Kyungsik Kim, Jongwan Kwon, Tengjia Liu

Publication: [TRANS-]IENT Journal 2017 Issue 03

The notion of the permanence is a traditional subject in architecture. Most of our surrounding built environment such as buildings and infrastructures are designed to exist static and have a long life span with functional value. Monuments especially has the eternal factor for its symbolic significance of meaning, scale and material. With this understanding, instead of creating an artifact to last long with a single event to commemorate, this particular monument offers a platform to experience and register daily changes such as time, weather, and season. The project challenges the idea of permanence and explores building material to enable the process of extinction.

Located on an abandoned in Mexico City, the overall form and scale of the monument mimics the ancient "Pyramid of the Moon" in Teotihuacan, Mexico. With the inverted form of the pyramid, it proposes a labyrinthine promenade that public can engage the monument's interior as one descends to lower levels.

However, unlike the typical monuments, the project exists for only a certain period of time and uses nature as a tool for deconstruction. The walls that configure the labyrinth are built of soil bricks made with natural materials such as earth, coconut fiber, sea salt, water and they slowly erode due to natural climate conditions including wind, rain and heat. The speed of erosion can be controlled depending on each brick's material combination and given pressure when made. By varied solidity of bricks, the pyramid deconstruct itself from the lowest center towards outer perimeter and gradually meets the ground level. The ever-changing monument is inherent to slowly disappear and eventually be forgotten.