Craters as other form of architecture [Alles Ist Architektur]

Geophysicists talks about two kind of craters: the volcano craters and the craters created by meteorites impact, some of these are submarine craters, like the Chicxulub crater in Mexico. Sometime wide depressions under the sea are considered a sign of volcanic activity or geologycal faults, but making a google research we found that most of the on-line information refers to impact craters, so we were curious about and want to share some of our readings and it’s the start point to speculate how craters can modify our landscapes [doesn’t matter if it is an undersea landscape or an Earth one] and in which sense we can talk about craters as a hostile but living space.

If rocks could talk, they would be able to tell the story of the events that formed them. Our friends from mammoth recently wrote that a glacier is a very long event, an making a paraphrasis we can also say that a crater is also a very long event.

For example, in 1943, the crew of a United States Army Air Force plane noticed a crater in northern Quebec, Canada. The crater’s remoteness prevented a geologic expedition until the 1950s, but once they were able to collect data from the site, geologists concluded that the structure was a meteorite crater produced from an impact roughly 1.4 million years ago. As found at the NASA Earth Observatory, deep within the crater’s lake sediments, the research team found two separate layers of diatoms and other organic material that indicate they were created during relatively warm conditions.

Santa Ana Volcano in El Salvador

Pakistan Mud Volcanoes

Again from the NASA Earth Observatory

Along the coast of Pakistan, the tectonic plate underlying the Arabian Sea is diving beneath the Eurasian continent. This process—subduction— typically creates volcanoes, but the volcanoes that rise from this arid landscape are not the typical kind. Instead of lava, ash, and sulfur dioxide, these volcanoes spew mud and methane. On rare occasions, the gas plumes spontaneously ignite, shooting flames high into the sky.

All this background drives us to think again on Hans Hollein‘s idea that ALLES IST ARCHITEKTUR, where he wrote “Many fields beyond traditional building are taking over ‘architecture,’ just as architecture and ‘architects’ are moving into fields that were once remote. Everyone is an architect. Everything is architecture.” Now, if we agree that craters are alive, as they are often altered by erosion or by volcanic and tectonic activity, it’s reasonable to think that somehow they are capable of transform our concept of architecture and landscape. There are also human-made craters that worths a look here, i.e. mining craters. In Los Pelambres, one of the largest open pit mines in Chile, located 200 kilometres northeast of Santiago. In the images below we can see how humans are tracing this new kind of crater and redisigning [maybe without noticing] the whole surrounding area:

According to all the speculations above, we can talk about craters as a form of urban desing, even if they’re natural or not. We had talked before about these kind of architecture constructed by non-architects, as Cape Kennedy [or Cape Canaveral], the RAF Menwith Hill or even EPCOT as some kid of a new instant city, and even glaciers were presented as a floating city. So, why not include craters also as other form of architecture? It doesn’t matter if they were created by a meteorite, a volcano or by mining companies, at last we’re talking of a new form of perceiving space and land… and maybe this can be architecture.

But we can go further and not only think about this event as architecture. We can think about craters as a field for creating architecture. In this context it’s interesting to think that maybe the new landscapes created by craters can be used for the settlement of new cities like Yonna Friedman’s Ville spatiale or even for a new kind of city shaped by hanging gardens like the project Hanging gardens of Barcelona by T?F. Another project that fits perfect in this proposal are the high houses designed by Lebbeus Woods, that can be rised up all over the crater’s hole occupying the airspace. Not so long ago, and talking about architecture, machines and moving cities, Adrian Giddings was asking “What else could you do with it and a Bagger 288?” Now, playing with the idea that a crawler can be a walking city we can speculate about placing them [crawlers, Baggers] in these hostile and unfavorable landscape and transform them to start creating new urban places.

Let’s think about it.

Thanks to La Periferia Doméstica for the link to la mina escondida.
Wonderful images at Matt Hintsa’s flickr photo-set Excursion to Chile’s Region II


About this entry