By John J. Kerner and Justin T. Wang
Chamber Memoriam consists of three elements placed in a defunct seed-drying bin: a shroud, a perch and memoriam. The shroud, a 10 by 18 foot white poplin cloth, provides a more humanistic scale to the empty seed-drying bin by engaging the extents of the spatial enclosure; hung from the rafters and draped in front of the entry. A portion of the shroud is held in tension via a cable connected to the other side of the bin. This tension, due to gravity, causes a catenary curvature in the geometry of the shroud. The shroud in turn becomes a volumetric medium whereby light is made present. The perch, a bent 10 gauge steel plate fastened to the existing concrete masonry unit wall assembly, acts as a seating element for multiple guests. The memoriam consists of a series of candles that have been placed beneath the sloped and perforated metal grate subfloor. The aggregate of candle light illuminates the dimensional depth of the bin and makes visible the only space within the bin that retains its original function as void for air movement. Consequently, heat - a critical element in the original drying process - is reintroduced. The entire assembly serves as a type of recall to practices since past.
Within the chamber, we stage a memorial to the seed drying process. The memorial space calls attention to the intimate scale of the chamber and its construction. We insert three elements into the space: shroud, memoriam, and perch.
The perch, a 10-gauge folded steel plate, fastened to existing masonry, places the occupant into ergonomic and physical dialogue with the chamber.
The space below came to be known as the “crypt,” analogous to crypts of traditional churches, which contained sacred relics or tombs beneath the altar.
This collection of various states recalls the cyclical nature of seed drying and agricultural practice.
The shroud, a white fabric volume, controls view and light and brings the occupant into dialogue with the scale of existing construction. By obscuring view through the chamber door, the shroud creates a monadic experience within; only diffuse light provides a hint of the world outside.