Master of Architecture
Beyond the notions of the natural and the urban, there has been limited speculation about the landscapes that are in between. These sites, ranging from dams, canals, open-pit mines or any other resource production landscapes, are vital components that enable our cities. These colossal resource extractions on the earth’s surface define a new kind of sublime of the artificial. It constructs a new type of curiosity, in which the public actively explores these voids, instead of solely seeking the traditional natural landscapes of the sublime. This pursuit of awe and wonder by the artificial has resulted in an increase of tourism within cities, transforming much of the city’s ‘residue’ into preserved landscapes, much like monuments of ancient civilizations, to encourage continued revenue for these sites. The mining industry in particular has transformed the excavation of these permanent forms into a temporary mode of production, therefore exponentially increasing the quantity of mines throughout the world. This thesis asks the question, once the temporary mode of production is discontinued, what happens to the permanent traces of production in the earth? Also, how does territorial preservation, beyond a sort of naïve nostalgia of these past forms define new futures for the present? The Big Hole Mine is one in a series of abandoned open-pit diamond mines in the city of Kimberley, South Africa. The exceptional quality of this mine is that it is an external element, which is internalized within the city fabric. This displacement defines a contestation of scales, the colossal mine at the territorial scale next to the intimate small-scaled city fabric. This thesis exploits the contrast between the giant and the miniature, to continually distort scalar perception. The university campus is confined to a thickness, which does not act as a transition between the small, medium, and large; rather it produces a delay to redefine how big is big.
campus; mining; south africa; void