calligraphies of disturbances

A testing ground for an augmented ecology

Disturbances is a concept used in Ecology to describe changes in environmental conditions that cause changes in the ecosystem. The project recognizes disturbances as a constant state of the landscape and architecture, and looks at ways which this concept can generate an architectural and landscape idea through ecological thinking and computational tools.

academic supervisor: Elisa Cattaneo


The project transforms a toxic and dying landscape, the coal mining in the vicinity of Prishtina, into an open seedbank - a site of ecological research, studying changes in ecological patterns in a constantly disturbed site. The constructed ecology is an experimental data landscape, an open seedbank, which will carry its research on how the “toxic” agents interact with the ecological patterns in a constantly disturbed site.

Architecture is used as a tool to include hyperobjects (relating to Timothy
Morthon’s writings), their appearance and disappearance and their complex nature in the design process and the thinking of architecture.

The toxins produced by the coal mining industry are tracked as they travel through soil, water, and air. Then, a remediation process (building new vegetation patches that would then spread throughout the intended area) is proposed in the designated paths, which extends far beyond where the mining activities occur.
The design proposal takes into account the ecological pattern that exists on site; considering geology, hydrogeology, hydrography, topography, climate conditions, and vegetation, as interconnected and inseparable layers of the site.

seedbank - data landscape

The project functions as an open seedbank or “data landscape” and is conceived not only as a knowledge accumulation site for scientists but as a public work as well. It would not only provide an understanding of the interaction of heavy metals with the natural systems on site which serves the scientific community globally but will accumulate knowledge on how to combat climate change locally as well.  Acting as a large public work, it will include the public in the process of mining, end/transition of coal mining activities, remediation process, learning about endemic and invasive species, keep track of the toxins on the ground through indicatory gardens, etc.

performative landwork

Overburden machines that place “waste” material on site, as industry continues to work, now also engage on creating a new land art on site. Following the curvature of the river the mining overburden machines are used to create the performative landwork. This land art will function as wetlands that sustain the cycles of the flood, and remediate the soil and water. Instead of eradicating the signs of the industry, they are transformed in a performative land art that will act as a monument to the finale of the industry.

Landscape/architecture modules are used as performative instruments in the project. This component becomes the most important feature of architecture. The modules are generated by dicretizing the space into voxels. This approach extracts the connection of each voxel, allowing the voxels to mutate into a range of different connections between them. The algorithm makes it possible to recognize the relationship between the faces of the voxels which are given numerical connotation based on their relative location.

The architectural proposals is sited in a constructed landscape where the ecological processes and technological ones meet. Following the constructed wetlands, the architectural instrument is placed on the lowest point of the project area where the water passes a last step before being filtered to aquifers. It also serves as a data center for plants, a research center, exhibition of species, and an exhibition of an artificial geology.

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Erzë Dinarama unless otherwise specified

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