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Re-Mining Johannesburg: Urban redevelopment through the treatment of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)

Part 2 Project 2013
Dirk Coetser
University of Johannesburg | South Africa
The city of Johannesburg was born from mining, built on mining and is now facing post-mining trauma – Acid Mine Drainage (AMD).

A tribute to Johannesburg (the mining legacy) is the main subject addressed. This is achieved
architecturally by creating an “archaeology” of the future through the manifestation of relevant architecture. The design investigation aims to achieve a design intervention that will thread the traces of a mining century into this contemporary African city, through an architecture that will grow into the future of the ever-changing and continuously emergent Johannesburg.
The contemporary city has grown into an environment for insurgent practice to evolve in. There are plenty of empty infrastructural pockets within the urban fabric which have become redundant.

The macro intervention consists of a network of purification stations healing the mining belt. The purification plants are located at the mapped decanting points. Each station mines the acidic void for water containing gold-mining by-products. The landscape is healed over time through the abundance of water and the utilisation of extracted by-products (fertilizers).
The geometry of the building provides for the elimination of the roof and a southern
facade. This allows for less area exposed to heat loss from a colder facade. The roof and northern facade are merged into a singular entity. The building can simply be presented in three elevations (east, west, north), instead of the conventional five elevations.

The design envisions the near future, future and the distant future. The intervention provides the city with a needed water park for recreation purposes in the near future. At this stage the purification machine starts to gather fertilizers and stores it for the future. As the machine purifies more water and fills the mining void with unsafe matter, the machine produces less water. The holding dams become empty overtime and this provides opportunity for the dam walls to become housing. Once the dams are empty, the stored fertilizers are used to restore the land. The dam voids become new urban parks with surrounding housing (dam walls re-appropriated).

Dirk Coetser


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