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Redefining Industry / Architecture as a constructive extraction

Part 2 Project 2015
Walter Raubenheimer
University of Pretoria Pretoria South Africa
The decommissioning of the famous Cullinan diamond mine will create an industrial ruin, perpetuating ecological degradation and fostering a homogeneous experiential environment within a scarred landscape. The inaccessible ghostlike remnants of mining industry will not only result in a loss of functional, social and economic value but also a loss of authenticity, heritage value and spatial and experiential diversity.

The project questions the current mining rehabilitation strategy by proposing an alternative architectural solution that is resilient, that regenerates the post-industrial mining environment while providing opportunities for new spatial and sensory experiences. An alternative approach to the industrial archetype is proposed by establishing a new experiential interface between the public, productive industry and the industrial heritage. It was discovered that the roots of Vetiver grass, currently used to remediate the kimberlite tailings, can be extracted to produce essential oil as a commodity. An essential oil extraction facility is therefore proposed, providing economic incentive for remediation, while a cider-making facility re-establishes the heritage of brewing, providing social incentive for rehabilitation. The new architecture transforms the current mono-functional industrial archetype into an experiential, regenerative mechanism, which reinserts carbon back into the landscape in the form of resources and nutrients rather than extracting it.

Walter Raubenheimer


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