12 March 2011

Two abstracts

Updated abstracts under development for this semester (and beyond)'s long-term endeavors :

Thesis abstract (as of 11 March) :

How can we smartly design from the existing materials around us?  This thesis focuses on the transformative potential of the mundane yet abundant waste material of rubble.  Within the context of the 20 million m3 of debris remaining from the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, it seeks to develop a catalog of new aesthetic and performance alternatives that will culminate in new hybrid architectural landscapes.


Research paper abstract for Energy as a Spatial Project (as of today) :

The question of what happens with the “end” of productive processes – waste – is only recently being addressed with an ecological attitude.  In places such as Singapore where real estate for trash is scarce, the solution of incineration – “burn it than bury it” - has given rise to an unexpected new landscape: the “scenic” landfill.

This paper is a case study of Pulau Semakau, the world’s first sea-based landfill constructed to accommodate the ash and non-combustible wastes from the waste-to-energy (W2E) system.  In attempt to eliminate trash and the precious area it occupies in the city-state’s 697 km2, the Singaporian government reconfigured their waste management system in the early 1990s, following in the footsteps of Denmark and France by sustainably burning their municipal solid waste to generate electricity.  However, even waste makes waste, resulting in the 1995 creation of a 350 hectare island capable of housing 63 million m3 of trash.  This spatial manifestation of garbage’s by-product is currently being developed as an eco-tourist destination, a recreational playground coupled with renewable energy production.

Tracing the invisible path of trash from consumer wastebasket to scenic landfill, this paper seeks to reveal the political and social forces at work in forming the Semakau landfill, and to position it within the larger change in cultural attitudes towards garbage and landfill production.


Do we sense a theme here?