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Fort de Vaujours in 2016: the site is closed off to the public and under constant surveillance. Marked even now by natural and depleted uranium, the site is on its way to becoming an open-pit gypsum mine.
Fort de Vaujours in 2016: the site is closed off to the public and under constant surveillance. Marked even now by natural and depleted uranium, the site is on its way to becoming an open-pit gypsum mine.

Potential site development in 2047 (part of the design proposition).
Potential site development in 2047 (part of the design proposition).

Tower providing access to the old gypsum quarry, also used as gardeners’ storage space.
Tower providing access to the old gypsum quarry, also used as gardeners’ storage space.

Main entrance to the area where the public is advised to wear protective clothing.
Main entrance to the area where the public is advised to wear protective clothing.

Networks of flora and fauna as these have evolved over time.
Networks of flora and fauna as these have evolved over time.

A transitory ‘perspective image’ of the underground gypsum mine after mining activities have stopped or been interrupted. The created perspective aims to show that design interventions always involve framing, including certain processes and practices and excluding others. So the point is not to reject framing as such but to work with shifting boundaries and moments when transformation occurs – in other words, the challenge is to work with continuously shifting frames.
A transitory ‘perspective image’ of the underground gypsum mine after mining activities have stopped or been interrupted. The created perspective aims to show that design interventions always involve framing, including certain processes and practices and excluding others. So the point is not to reject framing as such but to work with shifting boundaries and moments when transformation occurs – in other words, the challenge is to work with continuously shifting frames.

A group of gardeners actively guides and responds to the site’s development
A group of gardeners actively guides and responds to the site’s development





PROJECTINDEX
WINNER
UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY
Technische Universiteit Delft
LANDSCAPE DESIGN

An approach to landscapes abandoned by their users
This graduation project seeks to apply architectural landscape interventions as a tool to exercise control, particularly in troubled times and at troubled places. The site chosen for this purpose is Fort de Vaujours, an abandoned uranium-contaminated area near Paris where gypsum is to be mined in the future.
Armed with a theoretical survey of the concepts of unfamiliarity and territory, the project looks at the landscape as a complex and metastable system. First, it proposes reading landscape in another way and taking a different view of the on-site characteristics, design interventions and landscape experience. Next, the project applies the received insights to the analysis and the design.
The project make proposals about the way we could combine our production with places of friction, or, to be more precise, with our unfamiliarity with disturbed areas. This must be done without reducing their complexity or eliminating their creative potential to create a familiar ambience. With the great need these days for new approaches to contaminated sites, the project critically reflects on conventional landscape transformations of such places. Rejecting the fallacies that drive instant solutions, it presents instead a performative design approach that combines the objective properties of the landscape with its cultural eloquence. Ultimately the goal is to achieve a multiple of affective encounters that activate the landscape’s potentials both ethically and politically. This means that unlike current contaminated land clearance techniques, the proposed landscape intervention is not planned and not intended to have an immediate effect. In fact, a successful clearance operation has most impact in the long term.
The design proposition moves from designing a stable portrayal of the landscape, or a well-defined plan, to designing a theme, a performance, a constant action in time. Consequently, the design strategy is focused on detailed materialization and the functional and affective development of parts of the design on one hand and on potential scenarios of landscape change on the other. These potential scenarios are based in terms of strategy on planning multiple events over time (the project spans 300 years). In the initial phase, designing is regarded as a transitory activity but is later incorporated into a complex design process where the actors involved are not just people. The future development of the site is not dictated beforehand but hinted at instead. Aside from the proposed design interventions, the development is led by a group of gardeners who enter into direct interaction with the dynamics of the landscape and actively take part in a continuous project of stimulating the landscape’s diversity.