The Route 66 National Park
The Route 66 National Park is proposed as part of a combined effort including groups such as the National Parks Service, to preserve the memory and history of the famous highway. The result is a technological landscape built around the diverting of the South Branch of the Chicago River in order to create a water computer. Through the careful use of fluid dynamics, water flows can be manipulated through ceramic logic gates, effectively turning these flows into binary decisions, and turning the flow of the Chicago River into a landscape-scale computation device. This computer performs ‘glacial speed’ calculations in order to grow and germinate a series of landscapes across the site that correspond to the states that form the route of the 66. Appearing as a yearly cycle, these three dimensional pixels contain traces of roadside architecture and of the indigenous plants of each of the region states.
Along the route which navigates this ersatz landscape are stationed a series of archival buildings collecting ephemera from the route, the landscape thus becomes a new form of hybridised national park, encapsulated within its site near the start of the famous route. Through the careful water-based landscape wide calculation, the Route 66 National Park remains in a perpetual ‘refresh’ state, a compressed slice of America and an architecture attuned to the year-wide fluxes in climate of its host city.