Reading contamination : an environmental education center at the Wells G&H Superfund Site
Author(s)Berry, Rebecca Lynn, 1973-
Mark Jarzombek and Ellen Dunham-Jones.
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This thesis proposes and architectural and programmatic methodology which makes legible the processes and consequences of site contamination. This methodology is chiefly demonstrated through a plan for the site which emerges from the examination of the intersection of site contamination with the site's (natural) characteristics and perceptual phenomena, The site plan arises from the (abstract) institutional entities associated with the site. These entities - the wetlands demarcation zone in particular - begin to organize the site in a way which speaks not to the site's (natural) systems, but to the institutional systems which govern the site, and the means by which these systems deal with contamination. The site is populated by wells which have been drilled to monitor pollutant levels in the groundwater. The wells (non-natural) monitor the (natural) processes of site contamination. The lines of sight between these wells (as abstraction) become the generators for site geometries, and the placement and form of the built (architectural) areas of the site. Each built area has two sides defined by the wetlands demarcation line. Within the non-protected zone, the ground is engaged and inhabited. Within the protected zone, users never engage the ground, but instead float above it. These varied experiences of ground delineate the idea of ground as more than plane, as instead a multi-layered strata. The tectonics of the individual built elements vary as one crosses the demarcation line. This contrast between (natural) materials in the non-protected zone and (non-natural) materials within the protected zone makes legible the invasion of contamination. The different construction methods also demonstrate the fragility of the wetlands soils. At the same time, the lifting of the structures from the ground emphasizes the danger to the ground from man, and the danger to man from the ground. Due to the nature of the wetlands soils, contamination from a point source has a tendency to distribute itself throughout the site. The institution, an "environmental education center," disperses itself throughout the site. This dispersion forces the users to continually re-confront the site, making the link between the site's contamination and its (natural) characteristics legible through experience.
Thesis (M.Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1999.Vita.Includes bibliographical references (p. 85-87).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology