We focused on the example of the Tar Creek Lead and Zinc mine in Picher, Oklahoma as a pilot project for Infrastructural Reclamation. Dozens of waste rock piles, some up to 13-storeys high, and contaminated ground and surface water are the legacy of mining operations in the area, which produced a significant portion of the lead used in the World Wars.
Solar energy generation is introduced as an economic catalyst on the site, but with a twist: the introduction of a structure that raises the solar energy infrastructure off the ground, creates the opportunity to host other activities on the site, as well as to remediate the polluted ground and waterways. The concrete structure, pre-fabricated using waste rock material from the site, is assembled in a modular fashion from a kit of parts that accommodates a variety of programs. Importantly, the hollow structure also acts as a conduit to carry water, energy, waste -- all the infrastructure for human habitation -- to all inhabited areas of the site.
The result is a three-tiered plan: the topmost layer is devoted to solar energy development and production: testing the latest solar technology and producing a surplus of energy for the site and its surroundings. This layer is also the starting point for water management on the site. Rainwater is collected as needed and transported through the structure to one of several treatment plants around the radial plan. The middle layer is the place of dwelling and exploration of the site. As the need for space grows, beams are added to create this inhabited layer: the beams act as a pedestrian and cycling circulation system, but also the infrastructure for dwelling and automated transit. Finally, the ground layer becomes a laboratory for bioremediation of the ground and water systems. Passive treatment of both the waste water from the site and of the acid mine drainage is coupled with a connected system of boardwalks to allow inhabitants and visitors to experience both the industrial inheritance of the site and the renewed hope for its future.
Status: School Project
Location: Tar Creek, Oklahoma