BLDGBLOG recently featured An Incomplete Atlas of Stones, by Elise Hunchuck (MLA 2016). The 250-page book is the culmination of the extensive research Hunchuck conducted for her Master of Landscape Architecture thesis, presented in 2016.
As Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG writes, in 2015, Hunchuck travelled “around Japan’s Sanriku coast, documenting every available tsunami stone in photographs, maps, and satellite views, and accumulating seismic and geological data about each stone’s local circumstances.”
The research trip was made possible thanks to the Peter Prangnell Award, which provides travel funds to Daniels Faculty students wishing to study the way architecture, landscape architecture, urban design — or another aspect of the human-built environment —shapes and/or is shaped by everyday life.
In her thesis description written for the faculty, Hunchuck wrote that “These tablets performed a dual function: as warnings they marked inundation; as monuments, they were part of rituals memorializing those lost. Later, people erected another stone — seawalls — to keep the sea away from the land. And people moved down the slopes, believing they had engineered away the risk of coastal living. In 2011, almost every seawall failed under the forces of the earth and the sea.”