The expansive growth of the mining industry worldwide reflects our economy’s insatiable hunger for natural resources. Mining towns flourish around the world, often bound to inclement and desert regions. This adds a challenging living environment to the difficulties of hard work.
In the last decades, after the discovery of iron ore around 1960, settlements for mining workers have developed fast in the dry Pilbara region next to major extraction sites and their industrial harbors. So far, mining towns have been conceived with little consideration for the specificities of local climate and environment. Fast to implement, generic and economic constructions have been the common way to build. They often offer little protection from the climate, and provide poor living conditions. The resulting limited quality of life in these towns, keeps many FIFO* workers from staying permanently, and drives many social problems.
In our studio we want to rethink the design of towns in these extreme but fascinating climates:
- We will think about ways of developing environmentally sound mining towns , to raise the qualities of public and private spaces. Rethinking spaces in a climate adapted way will have an important impact on the quality of life of a fast growing population.
- We will TEST the potential of transferring successful strategies used in similar climates around the world. How can historical and contemporary examples inspire us for finding new solutions?
- We will investigate how prefabrication can inform our design process. Mining towns grow rapidly, only to shrink later with decreasing ore and ultimately be relocated. Prefabrication allows at the same time quick construction, adaptation, dismounting and relocation.
- At the same time, thinking the design in a flexible manner, allows promoting more mixity by offering adaptive spaces. Flexibility in planning is an important part of a design process for towns that have yet to define what they want to be.
Students will design in groups of two. The semester will be accompanied by thematic lectures on urban design, climate design, prefabrication, and habitation.
*FIFO stands for Fly in Fly out. A large proportion of workers are flown in for short periods of time to work. They alternate working with break times, spent with their families residing in a different city.
Underground City, Newman, Yu Tian (Tony) ,Du Kanghong (Charlie), section model
The scheme makes use of the regulating effect of earth mass. The ground reducies temperature gain during the hot day, and loss during the cool night. It is based on precedents such as Coober Pedy in Australia, and yaodong dwellings in China
Underground City, Newman, Yu Tian (Tony), Du Kanghong (Charlie), Precendents yaodong dwellings China
building process using mining equipment and techniques
Underground City, Newman, Yu Tian (Tony), Du Kanghong (Charlie), Site plan
Underground City, Newman, Yu Tian (Tony), Du Kanghong (Charlie), Concept collage
building process using mining equipment and techniques
Mine Park Infrastructure, Newman, Tymms William, Kasinski Stephen, Martin Karl, model and collage
The scheme is based on processes of renaturation, spontaneously happening in old mines. It intends to reuse the housing infrastructure for miners to progressively accommodate tourists visiting the fascinating landscapes created by mining. These landscapes will progressively be populated by vegetation and natural lakes. At the same time, the location in the unused part of the mine allows to make use of shade, and freshness provided by the ground. A flexible construction system allows to relocate unneded parts of the infrastructure to new mines.
renaturation and mine functioning
detail model facade
view into the mine, and detail of the façade
Hill Forest, Newman, Paynter Callum, Eggleston Chris, model
The scheme is inspired by Greek hill settlements, and uses verticality and topography to create multiple habitation levels. The shady and cooler ground level forms the day zone, while the warmed upper floors are used at nighttime. Flexible elements such as movable interior/exterior bedrooms allow making use of nighttime breezes or daytime shade. The topography gives each unit the possibility to enjoy views into the mine. The cactus-like units join together to form larger units, and overshade the partially covered streets.
Hill Forest, Newman, Paynter Callum, Eggleston Chris, detail model of units
The scheme was based on ideas of organic expansion to allow for a smooth transition between the needs of short term FIFO inhabitants and more permanent residents. Permanent massive cores house permanent amenities and are complemented by a grid for potential expansions. The concept applies both at the overall scale for public amenities as well as on the scale of the individual dwellings. The grid spaces are conceived as having semi outdoor qualities, an stay as green wedges when not filled in. These permeate the overall scheme and connect to an existing green valley.
Modular City, Newman, You Ea Jin (Amy), Chan Man Ching (Erica), diagrams
The scheme is located within a designated expansion area of Newman, and questions the monofunctional existing zoning. The housing mass to frames public space as a protection against desert winds and sun. Houses are conceived in modular way to be able to expand progressively. Sun screens and vertical ventilation shafts allow for effective ventilation and shade.
Modular City, Newman, You Ea Jin (Amy), Chan Man Ching (Erica), site model and expansion model
Market Streets, Port Hedland, Hu Yawen, Michael Todd, model
The scheme re-interpretes to the type covered of markets (souks) commonly found in Arabic desert cities. Long sinuous pedestrian streets connect the urban areas of either sides of Pretty pool in Port Hedland. They are shaded by the framing buildings, overhangs, mobile screens, or permanent roof covers. Different temporary or permanent activities take place at ground level: markets, skate ramps, outdoor cinema, rock pool, parking…
Market Streets, Port Hedland, Hu Yawen, Michael Todd, diagrams
Swimming City, Port Hedland, Ghaly Amy, Katanov Mazal (Mazi), perspective, sections
Based on concepts of boat houses, the projects uses the cooling effects of sea breezes and evaporation cooling, while at the same time allowing for the tidal changes. Located in Pretty pool, the dwellings are moored by expanding columns, and connected to the shore with floating decks. The different levels allow for multiple and changing views onto the water
Watering Canals and Gardens, South Hedland, Nguyen Dinh Triet (Will), Setmajer Alexandra J (Alex)
The project is inspired by the mesoamerican agriculture concept of the Chinampas. Canals are used to water gardens, which provide freshness. Located between South Hedland and a small water arm, the project establishes a system of alternating garden strips and covered streets with water canals fed by the small river. The dwellings are located between gardens and canal, and cross-ventilate to either side. At the same time they shade gardens and water, and prevent evaporation. A series of courtyards and amenities form the public network.