SPACES OF GOLD
Having examined the social and environmental consequences of Johannesburg’s gold mining industry, the project envisions an alternative decommissioning method in which material residues of depleted mines are rearranged into a new form of habitation. A housing development on top of one of the city’s toxic mine dumps to be built as a means for rehabilitating the city’s polluted landscape.
Tutors: Didier Faustino & Kostas Grigoriadis
Landscape prosthesis infrastructure on Princess mine dump
Landscape prosthesis infrastructure on Princess mine dump inhabited
Phase I, Framework construction
Phase II, Plant nursery establishment
Phase III, Supporting facilities / In situ transplantation
Phase IV, Initial habitation / Ex situ transplantation
Phase V, Programmatic adjacencies / Ground plane accessibility
Reclaiming toxic grounds, rehabilitation through inhabitation
Landscape prosthesis atop of Princes mine dump, populated
BETWEEN LANDSCAPE AND BODY
The material flow of gold has vast environmental and spatial implications; yet, it is also a process that has direct implications on the physiology of the human body. This case study identifies one material trajectory and examines key moments along it. Different moments correspond to different scales: from its prospecting and extraction in the scale of the landscape to its ultimate surgical implantation in the scale of the body.
Material distribution, prospecting and mining methods
Mponeng mine analysis
Johannesburg's mining belt
Material export and industrial application
Implants & prosthetics; condition/ position/ materials
DAVIDSONVILLE & THE PRINCESS MINE DUMP
Having traced the material flow of gold, the project returns to focus on one problematic moment identified along its path: the mine dumps of Johannesburg. Scattered across the city by the hundreds, these landscape formations, although beautiful to look at are also deeply disturbing toxic grounds. The project focuses on Davidsonville, a township in western Johannesburg enclaved by the Princess mine dump.
Davidsonville and the Princess mine dump, site analysis
Due to its physical dislocation, Davidsonville, like many townships, has developed a strong independent sector of domestically run businesses. As a result the governmental housing units, in which its residents live, have been transformed over the years to accommodate a variety of enterprises.
Governmental housing adaptation in Davidsonville
At the same time heavy metals and other contaminants that have been surfaced through mining operations are now blown up by winds and transmitted via air. Precipitation flowing on the dump’s surface is polluted and acidified. As a result, surrounding surface and subsurface water bodies are contaminated and during heavy rains overflow into the streets of Davidsonville.
Princess dump, image by Eva Lotte Janssen
Davidsonville with Princess dump in background, image by Eva Lotte Janssen
What if at the end of its life span a mine could be mined for its own structures and components? What if these could be surfaced, sorted and reassembled to form the foundation for a new kind of habitation. A prosthetic in the scale of a landscape intended to heal the city's scarred grounds. The project proposes a phased strategy in which the site is gradually detoxified, reshaped and repopulated. Inhabitation as a means for rehabilitation.
Structures & components catalog
I Site containment
II Primary circulation
III Secondary circulation
IV Development framework