/// Abstract /
The Bingham copper mine operation site is one of the largest machined landscapes on the earth’s surface. The pit itself is measured at 13200 feet wide at its largest opening and is planned to grow larger until its current closing date scheduled for 2019. The copper mining operation site in its entirety spans more than fifteen miles beginning with the actual open-pit mine to the south, terminating in Magna, Utah where the massive smelter stack is located on the bank of the Great Salt Lake.
This typology of machined landscape, collectively, makes up three-quarters of the earth’s land surface to date. The presence of the human hand has surpassed the realm of what is - and can be considered as natural terrain. Sites such as Bingham canyon have been multiplied and repeated on such a scale that humans have looked over the fact that these earthen craters are no longer man made but natural occurring, geologic phenomena that become seemingly natural spectacles. The perception of such landscapes of destruction can now be placed into the category of the ‘fantazii,’ or the iconic dream-scapes which settle their roots in the Russian movement of supermatism.
The ‘fantastic landscape’ is really nothing new as an idea or theory; minds such as Hans Hollein and Iakov chernikhov continued the same school of thought through the early to middle 1900’s.
The problem in this scenario is the time in which we live and function, titled by Michael Light, as the Anthropocene Epoch. The epoch is not clearly defined in time, but began when the hand of humans began to play a noticeable role in the demise of the earth’s land surfaces, eco-systems and climates.
The world as we view and inhabit today is a world based and structured around vast human systems in which natural systems play a secondary role in the realms of space and texture. Nature is working for us now and we must move quickly to pristinely preserve our machined geology, our humanized landscapes. The Bingham canyon is an absolute, visual icon of what our geology will appear to be in the future, the “archaeology of now.”
/// Thesis /
My conclusive thesis became a project devoted to preservation through experience. The design intentions provide livable space and amenities embedded within the land as a way to directly contact and display the surrounding man-made texture of the site on several scales of perception: one person - ten people - one hundred people. As described in the abstract, the once devasted land becomes a spectacle on a massive earthen scale m uch like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park.
Status: School Project
Location: Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, Utah, US