An installation remembering the thirty mile fire
through the words left behind.


Status: Design School project | Team: Robin Yoo, Warren Pope, Henry Sohn | Role: Concept, visuals, production, project management    



Create an installation that captures the 'ghost stories' of a retired ranger station in Twisp, WA, where the second deadliest fire in state history raged through.


A space of remembrance for the Thirty Mile Fire where people can experience the contrast between fire as a contained mass, while standing outside the installation, and as an engulfing presence, when standing within the dense mass of stories. Inside the installation, individual voices and stories cut into suspended strips appear fragmented, each telling a different story of the fire. From the outside, the density of stories blends to tell a unified story of the fire as a whole. People can read and interact with the stories as they experience the aftermath of the fire. The spatial form of our installation is defined by the shape of the Thirty Mile Fire’s destructive path.


On-site installation in Twisp, WA (above)



We started by visiting the site of the retired forest ranger station and met with locals who gave us insight into the fire that raged through the nearby Okanogan County Forest. We visited each of the buildings on site and heard stories about how the spaces were used. There was one building in particular that my team immediately felt a connection to, an old warehouse the fire burned. It was eerie. We then went through many iterations of concepts in sketches and architectural renderings. We built prototypes and tested materials until we landed on a concept.



We seared the stories into pellon (a papery fabric) with a laser cutter, as if they were burning, and created strips that would hang like lingering smoke in the space. We then built a to-scale prototype at University of Washington, and watched how people moved through the space and interacted with the stories. The final step was to pack up and drive the 4 hours to Twisp, WA to install the design onsite, in 24 hours. The next day we presented to our classmates and locals, and watched how people moving through our installation brought it to life.