Land Form

“To break the ground is the first architectural act.”
Gottfried Semper, The Four Elements of Architecture and Other Writings, trans. Harry Francis Mallgrave and Wolfgang Herrmann (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 101–104.

Land Form is an ongoing research project that examines the politics, economics, histories, ecologies, and social conditions surrounding sites of contemporary resource extraction. The project looks to mines, aqueducts, and other extractive systems as potential spaces for a new engagement of architectural form.

The extractive processes explored here transform the earth at a scale that compels architecture to think beyond individual buildings—demanding a reconsideration of the ground, a central trope in the development of the discipline. From land to datum to city to field, architecture has sought to reconstruct the ground according to changing political and social conditions. Today, this necessitates engaging with the shifting political economy of resource scarcity and the large-scale manipulation of the earth’s surface. Rather than seeking to ameliorate the seemingly intractable situation of scarcity—in which architecture and construction are complicit—Land Form instead mobilizes sites of resource extraction to think about a new scale of architecture.





Phase I
1. Technology: Sierrita Copper, Tuscon, Arizona; 2. Historic Preservation:Hashima, Nauru, Mannar, Homonhon, Pacific Islands; 3. Ecological Conservation:Antamina Mine, Ancash, Peru.

Phase II 
4. Legal Scenarios: Black Mesa Coal Mine, Navajo Nation; 3. Local Politics: Tilden and Empire Iron, Upper Peninsula, Michigan; 6. Labor Rights: Okote Mine, North Okote, Ethiopia.

Phase III
7. Geo-remediation: Black Thunder, Wyoming; 8. Water Resources: Los Angeles Aqueduct, California; 9. Globalization: Oyu Tolgoi Mine, Mongolia.

Phase IV
10. Post-industrial Urban Design: Ferropolis, Gräfenhainichen, Germany; 11. Nuclear Heritage: Plowshares Project, North America; 12. Historical Sites: Marble Quarries, Carrara, Italy.

Project Research, Exhibition, and Ongoing Research
Location Tempe-Phoenix, Arizona and Ann Arbor, Michigan US