Dark Ecology of Magnitogorsk
This research explores an alternative landscape and architecture for the post-industrial wasteland, a territorial concept that typically conveys the unwanted, exhausted and useless.
Mining and industrial production have degraded eleven percent of the earth’s soil. This project aims to rethink emerging ecologic strategies in remediation, the act of cleaning,and often the attempt (and anxiety) to erase the material traces of production. As a project it relies on the terrain of ambiguity; natural/manmade, clean/dirty, unwanted/desired are rejected polarities. This “messy whole” and its material, chemical and “natural” manifestations is embraced, revealing surprising architectural,urban and landscape potentials.
The testing ground is Magnitogorsk, City of Iron in the Russian Federation; The project engages the extremity of environmental degradation juxtaposed with the architectural promise of this city in the industrial age. Architecture and infrastructure are explored as time-based and chemically-induced operations. The design methodology recognizes potential and programmatic possibilities for cleaning but at the same time it engages with the material by-products as a new way of building.
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Published by: The Center for Architecture, Urbanism, Infrastructure, Princeton University, 2012. Distributed by: Island Press. Series Editor: Mario Gandelsonas.