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Absorbing Landscapes: A Chemical Geoengineered Architecture

Part 2 Project 2014
Thomas David McKellar
Northumbria University, UK
This project as proposed is a cross-programmed facility, combining a museum for the archaeology discovered at Star Carr, with a facility for the production of ‘Green-Methanol’ from innovative Chemical and Geo-Engineering processes. This archaeological site is regarded as the most important from the Mesolithic period. Located within a vast, ancient, peat landscape in North Yorkshire, the site is rapidly drying out as a result of the draining of the land for agriculture purposes. This process has meant the bio-chemistry of the peat-bed is being altered and becoming extremely acidic through aeration. As a result, important artefacts from this period are now too decayed to excavate. Peat worldwide emits billions of tonnes of Methane every year, and its aeration liberates millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, further increasing Global Warming. Permafrost in Siberia has stored Methane for over 11,000 years; it has now started to thaw. A slight rise in temperature would cause billions of tonnes of Methane to be released. This is a global problem, with its continual release, global warming would reach an insurmountable scale. Intelligent renewable solutions are desperately required.

The proposed scheme is a proto-typical renewable solution, comprising natural and mechanical landscapes. Initially the rehydration of the peat to form wetlands is proposed, to reduce the problem of aeration and to conserve the archaeology. However, wetlands naturally release Methane into the atmosphere through ebullition. To counter this, a landscape of mechanical devices is proposed to sequester Methane as it is liberated. These structures that house the museum and the production plant have intelligent skins constructed of Metal Organic Frameworks. This crystalline substance is extremely porous, having ability to absorb huge amounts of Methane gas, which is then reformed and synthesised into Methanol, an ideal alternative to petrol. A landscape of mechanical trees sequesters these gases across the site. The facility is split vertically, with a museum located within chambers in the ground at archaeological level. At ground level the wetlands continue under the building; there is a combination of plant and public facilities suspended at first floor under a crystalline roof.

Thomas David McKellar

Mr Paul Jones
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