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Here After: The Material Processor

Part 2 Project 2013
Aron Wai Chun Tsang
University of Hong Kong, China
Thesis Statement:

A newly completed building may express the architect’s aspirations in its pristine state, however, would immediately subject to numerous forces that slowly bring it down.
While we commonly ignore, or even deny, such natural process, namely decay, through great effort of maintenance, there are always too many unforeseeable and unpredictable agents that lead our endeavour in vain.
My argument is that while decay is a natural and inevitable phenomenon, why don’t we embrace it and see it as an opportunity?
I see material and building aging not as a deterioration process, but indeed a process of how the materials and components change their norms and meaning through time.
Like wine accumulating value through time, so could architecture gain an additional layer of value, e.g. textural, spatial effect or even memory, through weathering and usages.

Project Description:

The project involves a soon-to-be exhausted copper mine, Ruashi mine, in Lubumbashi, D.R.Congo. By the time 2020, the mine would be left as an huge urban void next surrounded by the rapidly expanding city.
Embracing the ‘left-over’, e.g. the mine, waste soil and sulfuric acid from acid mine drainage, from the former copper production, I see it as an opportunity in creation and continuation.
By first implementing a machine that re-utilizes the waste soil as a neutralization agent to the sulfuric acid, while at the same time through erosion generating unique raw building blocks that would be used to construct new public spaces on-site.
As the machine operates, starting from the South end, the remained structures from the former neutralization process would be reconfigured as a university campus.
Hence, as time goes by, the machine, the contour (mine-form), the campus and the public spaces continuously change their relationships.
Throughout the process, it embraces its own ‘left-over’ from various ‘former’ processes, the ‘left-overs’ that are embedded, imprinted with memories and narratives- an architecture that anticipates, responds to and records time flow.

Aron Wai Chun Tsang


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