Matt Sickle is a landscape designer who blogs about commemorative culture and design.
MonumentBlog is Matt’s platform to ask questions, suggest answers and think out loud about current problems in the design of commemorative landscapes: What should be done with Confederate memorials? Can religious monuments be allowed to remain on public property? What parts of American history are underrepresented in public art? What makes a memorial successful?
Through the blog, Matt hopes to develop a theory on what makes commemorative landscape architecture effective in communicating its message. He hopes to develop the ideas he writes about on his blog into a book someday.
In his day job, Matt works at Michael Vergason Landscape Architects in Alexandria, VA where has enjoyed working on several memorial design projects.
This design-research thesis suggests the creation of a memorial commemorating the Civilian Public Service (CPS), a World War II era program of alternative service for conscientious objectors. Through an exploration of memorial culture, the thesis seeks to distinguish the commemoration of nonviolence from the commemoration of war and to propose a memorial that inspires its visitors to consider nonviolence and conscientious objection as positive aspects of American culture.
To accomplish these goals, a memorial composed of modular commemorative elements was designed. Rearranging this kit of parts in combination with a new group of locally appropriate trees, the memorial will relocate to a different American city each year and return to Washington, D.C. every four years. With the growth of a new grove of trees and its donation to the neighborhood the memorial inhabits, the latter will draw attention to the history and the variety of services performed by the CPS.