Mining the Midden: Dynamic Waste Harvesting at the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill
Allan, Aaron Marshall
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Mining the Midden intends to re-frame the sanitary landfill as a new typology of public land containing an embodied energy of cultural and material value. By reconnecting the public with the landfill and seriously exposing its layers of history and then digesting both mined and new waste within an industrial facility of materials recovery and plasma gasification technology waste-to-energy plant. The sequence of experience for a public visitor begins where the waste is transformed to energy and flows in the opposite direction of the trash through the facility and then into the active landfill mining operation which is the large site component of the project. The mine is flanked by the visitor path, which is suspended from the soldier piles of the excavation system and allows the visitor to interpret along the 1/3 mile path their personal connection to the waste stream and the consumption patterns which drive our waste. Interpretation results from multi-sensory experience of the open mine and its connection to the processing structure as one hovers above, through moments of seeing through structural glass lagging directly into the sectional cut of the landfill, and through cultural artifacts harvested by landfill archaeologists which are displayed in rhythm with the structure and lagging. The culmination of the prescribed path is a narrow cut which frames the view of Mt. Rainier in the distance and opens up a visual connection with the remaining majority of the landfill which have up to this point been blocked by the small mountain of trash which they just walked up and through. This thesis intends that by confronting people with the juxtapositions of 2 potentially destructive mounds or mountains, and how we as a culture value and protect land while we simultaneously dump our rubbish on other lands, this experience will make the visitor more conscious of ones personal contribution to our culture of disposable commodities.
- Architecture