Exploring Memory, Life and Recovery through Architecture
MINERS, TO THE SKY
Project Site: Datong, China / 2020
Competition: Architecture of the Abandoned honorable mentions
Team: Christina Zhang + Joshua Tan
MINERS, TO THE SKY protests against the abuses in the mining industry by inviting people to live amongst the lost memories of miners. The mining industry, plagued with exploitation, injustice and poor conditions, has covered up its atrocities by relying on the media, capitalism and history.
Located in China’s largest mining city, the project is envisioned to be a forceful reminder of the miners who contribute to the livelihood of Datong City, but have been abandoned for the sake of profit. The house, made from abandoned mining objects around the world, becomes an index of mining, a description of its processes, an admonishment of what we take for granted. The past and the future collapse into the present as objects of the past simultaneously project the future of the mining industry.
The house, made from abandoned mining objects around the world, becomes an index of mining, a description of its processes, an admonishment of what we take for granted. The past and the future collapse into the present as objects of the past simultaneously project the future of the mining industry.
Each room resonates with a particular mining process. Dwellers will encounter vignettes of the miners’ daily work as our project reproduces the spatial experience of mining. Flipping the extractive mining process of digging downwards, the project stacks abandoned objects to reach for the sky.
The rooms are connected by a central shaft that frames the “Lifeline”, an emergency escape capsule that saved 33 miners in Chile — a rare uplifting moment in the mining history. The central shaft brings a piece of the sky to every room it touches. Just as this Lifeline brought light to the miners it rescued, its presence in our project symbolizes the aspiration for increased awareness and protests against malpractice and human exploitation.
“Cage” - Entry
down to the mining site. Just as it gets darker as their miners descend, our project leads the dweller through a dark hallway, before releasing them into the lit interior.
“Manway” - Hallways
The manway is a short passageway that miners excavate and then use to get between places within the mines. In our project, it becomes circulation, leading from one space to another.
“Mining station” - Family Lounge
The station is where miners gather before splitting to their respective sites. In our project, dwellers gather before separating to their respective rooms.
“Drift” - Long Gallery
Drift is a passageway, extending out from the center station and leading to new sites of excavation or and discoveries.
“Caverns” - Bedrooms
The caverns excavated by the miners form spaces of privacy even as they are spaces for hard manual labor. In our project, these make up the bedrooms, flipping labor for leisure.