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Topology of a Phantom City

Part 2 Project 2015
Hamish Beattie
Victoria University of Wellington Wellington New Zealand
As the global slum population swells to over one billion people, impoverished rural migrants moving to urban centres are increasingly turning to landfills as their habitat and source of livelihood. These populations scavenge sites under toxic conditions, looking for discarded items to eat, wear, use, sell or trade. Cultural compositions are in a constant state of dynamic flux.

Topology of a Phantom City asks the question: how can the realm of socially motivated unbuilt architecture draw public attention to pressing global issues? This design research investigation draws attention not only to the notion of fluidity of context within sites such as Baruni Landfill, but also to architecture’s responsibility to find a way in which to respond to the issues of these sites. Architectural design, placed into the public domain as visionary work, can help ensure inhabitants’ voices are heard.

TOPOLOGY OF A PHANTOM CITY responds with speculative design solutions to the daily problems faced by landfill inhabitants. The architecture is defined by vertical service nodes forming community hubs for each immigrant group. They provide them with water, energy, waste treatment and shelter. The nodes feed on the dump, dredging its resources and processing them to recycled construction materials.

Hamish Beattie


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