This research began through studying environments that don’t welcome habitation, which provoked a deeper curiosity and understanding of the skins of the earth. The first skin is the core, the uninhabitable region of the earth. The second skin is the surface where we inhabit. The research focuses on the moments of the second skin that begin to be uninhabitable, moments of space destroyed by man. This posed the question of an arising third skin. The moments of interest are specifically identified throughout on the act of mining, an economy-driven, destructive process that leaves land a desolate, useless environment. It is an inevitable process that will continue to grow with the rapid rate of urbanization. This research focuses on the moment where urbanization meets the condition of the mine.
Cerro de Pasco is a city in Peru where mining has defined its past, present, and future. It is a city bound by its geographical confines, a mine that is half the area of the city and continues to eat the surrounding urbanization, which includes apopulation of 70,000. The local mentality towards the mine is extreme disgust and antipathy, yet it is their economic salvation.
To approach the monumental scale (1200 feet deep, 6000ft x 3000ft), the conditions were studied that occured in the surrounding city and the connection points between those locations. This was a way to break up the site and break down its scale, which began to inform formal moves of circulative infrastructure and the introduction of architecture. From studying the site sectionally, research strategies of landscape architect, Alan Berger, were applied in relation to minescape rehabilitation and their stages of stabilizing contours, impenetrable surface, and topsoil with seeding that allows a rehabilitative process to take over. This begins to redefine the condition’s environmental and architectural opportunity. This logic supports sectional manipulations of the site, while understanding its context and future use.
The role that architecture plays is the extension of the multiple skins and layers of the landscape. Architecture typology thus becomes one to be claimed and circulated through by humans and nature. It is designed for these types to inhabit it as the site progresses and changes. The way it is utilized is thus always changing and the claiming of “place” by humans is changed by the way the landscape claims and moves through the architecture. Elements and materials used anticipate this change with multiple layers of porous skins, understanding the relationship with outside elements such as the sun, rain, water, drainage, and vertical geography.
The research documents the processes that occur and their effect on the relationship of how the role of the body changes. It anticipates how this becomes a typology or methodology that can be applied throughout the site or in sites with similar conditions over a period of time.
Throughout this research, I explored the role of architecture in conditions that are not suitable for existing typologies to plug in. Thus, a new way to approach the role of architecture and how it can be applied in these uninhabitable environments arise.
*Thesis Honor Award