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Infrastructural Remains: Caring for Anthropogenic Ruins

Part 2 Project 2021
Emilie Evans
University of Melbourne | Australia
This speculative project renders visible environmental stories of infrastructural care by exploring the possibility of architecture amidst Anthropogenic ruins. Juxtaposing temporalities of the deep past, the present and the deep future, the project situates itself in dialogue with the oldest concrete dam in Australia: Lower Stony Creek Dam, built in 1873 and located on the Victorian Volcanic Plains. Once a site of significant industrial activity, today the Dam Wall is deemed a retired water storage facility and sits in the landscape as a post-industrial relic. A suite of interventions including an Observation Tower (composed of a conglomerate of plastic debris), a Repository (housing relics, from industrial objects to Indigenous lithic artefacts), and a Seed Bank (storing collected seeds of endemic native plant species in an underground vault), respond to the former life of the Dam and speculate upon its more-than-human futures. Multi-species relations, nonhuman agency and more-than-human bodies, like the dammed body of water itself, are foregrounded. Balancing the poetic with the pragmatic, the architectural interventions respond to environmental concerns such as loss of biodiversity and ecological devastation and engender ways in which we might care for infrastructures once they are defunct. In a time of planetary uncertainty architecture becomes the critical tool by which alternative futures might be imagined.

Emilie Evans


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