The Gift: The Memory Palace
By Diane Dorney
Architect Michael K. Medick said it didn't take him
very long to come up with the idea of designing a pyramid-style time capsule
for the Seaside Ceremonial Landmark Competition. And plans for the construction
of the monument are already being discussed, so it may not be long before
it can be seen. However, it is going to be a very long time before its
contents are revealed.
"The Memory Palace," which will contain mementos donated by
prominent contributors to Seaside's history, is to be sealed after the
contributions are placed inside and reopened on December 20, 2081, the
100th anniversary of Seaside's founding. The date was selected by Medick
-- it is also his wife's birthday.
Designed as a 12-foot high, copper-clad pyramid with a 14-foot square
base, Medick came up with the idea of the time capsule after realizing
his neighborhood (Roland Park in Baltimore, Md.) was nearing its 100th
birthday. "I thought about how great it would have been if the Olmstead
brothers [Roland Park's planners] had left something behind for us,"
said Medick. He said he would like to know what they envisioned -- how
they saw the neighborhood unfolding.
That opportunity may have passed, but not in the case with Seaside. "We're
fortunate," Medick said. "So many people involved in the original
planning of Seaside are still with us."
Those original people include founders Robert and Daryl Davis, planners
Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, architects, builders, homeowners
and others. As to the date selected to view the contents, Medick said
he realizes he is probably going to miss the event. "I would like
to think my grandchildren would be there for the reopening," he said.
Sponsored by the town of Seaside and The Seaside Institute, Medick said
the rules of the competition were pretty loose. Not wanting to compete
with the architecture in Seaside, Medick said he decided to pursue winning
the competition with the idea versus the architecture. "How do you
top Krier's towers?" he said.
Medick describes the monument as a "pure form." Placed on one
side of the pyramid will be a plaque bearing the names of the founders,
planners and other prominent Seaside-related folks. An eternal flame will
beam atop the pyramid, which to Medick represents "the spark that
created the fight against sprawl."
And that spark, said Medick, proved to be the little town of Seaside.