Some years ago, I discovered that there was a New York-based landscape architect with the same name as me: David Kamp-with-a-K. It was an accidental discovery; I kept getting phone calls intended for him. But, my curiosity piqued, I decided to find out more about this other David Kamp. He turns out not to be just any landscape architect, but a highly regarded and forward-thinking one. His company, Dirtworks, PC, specializes in creating therapeutic environments for places like hospitals, senior homes, and autism centers–using groves, arbors, hedgerows, and the like to foster mental and physical well-being.
I’ve never met the other David Kamp, but I’ve been thinking of him this week because of his involvement in the Living Memorials Project, an old-school Rooseveltian public program, sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, to create permanent green spaces devoted to the memory of those who died on 9/11. (Above is a detail from Dirtworks’s plan for the Flight 93 commemorative site in western Pennsylvania.) Dirtworks is in the process of creating a September 11 Memorial Grove along the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C.
It’s a lovely, bracing idea, the “living memorial.” Having spent my childhood D.C. trips shuttling from classical edifice to classical edifice, I never would have thought that a memorial could be constructed from living things. I guess that’s what you need other David Kamps for.