An Architecture of Fire: Restoring the former Denny-Renton Clay and Coal Co. site in Renton
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Since the early nineteenth century, the manufacturing of clay products in the United State has produced a wide variety of building materials. Products like face brick, clay veneers and sewer pipe have greatly contributed to the growth of American cities. But, with the declined of demand and the rise of the use of modern building materials like steel, concrete and glass, many of these factories have closed. Little traces of this once thriving industry have been left on the landscape. Today, for the communities that now occupy these sites, the history of clay products is largely forgotten. The abandoned sites of the manufacturing of building materials are unique in the wasted landscapes they have left behind. The extractive industries they once housed have often left only the debris of built form that has been overtaken by natural growth. Brick making, in particular, relied on a process of extraction, reshaping and firing that literally re-shaped the land around it. This thesis proposes that these scarred landscapes have the potential to be re-activated in a way that recall their former use but looks forward to their future. It argues for the role of architecture as fire, a transformative process that consumes resources as it builds.
- Architecture