Document Type

Thesis Prep




Fall 2019


Architecture, Ecology, Built Environment, Cultural Continuity, Industrialization, Wastelands






We, as a society, have chosen to erase and neglect the problematic images and narratives of these wastelands from our, American, history. Therefore, the thesis aims to offer an authentic reality in which Human Ecology coexists with the previous erasures of Toxic Ecology. Currently, these wastelands are portrayed as foreign entities that American companies engage with, rarely do the cameras turn to our own backyard though. Rather than remediate these industrial sites and thus revive nature, the work looks to coexist with the consequences of our past and ongoing present through myth.

When challenged with the imagery of these damaged sites, one is confronted with an unfamiliar and deeply disturb-ing ecology; a toxic blind spot in the community. This research project aims to speculate on the collision of two ecologies: the human and the toxic. Through an open and poly-temporal system, this thesis investigates how humans are forced to acknowledge their synchronicity with these toxic entities. This coexistence is defined by Donna Har-away in Staying with the Trouble as “Terrapolis,” an indeterminate equation that accommodates unexpected companionship through materials, languages, and histories.

Passed down to this generation are a poisoned landscape and ignorant compulsion which only perpetuates the industry's perverted, never-ending carnage. A magnesium production plant adjacent to the Great Salt Lake has left the surrounding landscape scarred with evaporation ponds, smut piles, and waste lagoons. This new American landscape in Utah can no longer exist in adjacency, and society must come to terms with the consequences of mass industrialization and militarization. Sites such as these are “the materialization of our cultural heritage” and must be engaged with as such (Davis). The thesis seeks a chimera of material collisions and troublesome artifacts to enhance the dissonance of the fictitious American land-scape and the authentic reality we refuse to acknowledge.

Society only engages with these realities through unprecedented looking away, refusing to “become-with” these un-likely creatures (Haraway 35). Therefore, how do we make space for an extraordinary companionship with toxic ecology?

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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