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Geostories Another Architecture for the Environment


Geostories Another Architecture for the Environment


Contents   10 Another Architecture for the Environment Terrarium   28   42   48   54   62

After Oil Towers on Wire Belly of a Mountain Georama of Trash Trash Peaks


  76   86   96 102

Of Oil and Ice Apart, We Are Together A Geographic Stroll Around the Horizon Pacific Aquarium


126 Blue Marble Circus 130 Airpocalypse 136 Neck of the Moon 152 Love Your Monsters 162 Cosmorama




Section Cut: an Allegorical Construct of the World Nader Tehrani


Anthropocene Architecture: Design Earth’s Geostories Peder Anker and Nina Edwards Anker


The Role of Design in the New Climatic Regime Albena Yaneva

219 Notes 226 Project Credits 228 Acknowledgments 230 Biographies

After Oil

The 1970s marked the end of cheap, abundant, and guilt-free petroleum. In the US, long queues at the pump materialized the threats of foreign oil dependency following the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Since, the surging global demand for energy, projections of oil depletion, and the need to manage climate change have brought forth the necessity for long-term structural change in energy systems. Most energy transitions, however, inherently become a problem of carbon, the response to which is low-carbon energy sources and a series of techno-fixes: carbon sequestration, carbon credits, carbon markets. The euphoric tone of low-carbon or carbon-free narratives is uncanny; it purges, or at least masks, carboniferous matters while perpetuating a series of myths, notably, that “any newly discovered source of energy is assumed to be without faults, infinitely abundant, and to have the potential to affect utopian changes in society. These myths persist until a new source of energy is used to the point that its drawbacks become apparent and the failure to establish a utopian society must be reluctantly admitted.” 1 After Oil is a future of the Persian Gulf when the world has transitioned away from fossil fuels. After Oil renders visible the embeddedness of petroleum in a region of many oil-producing economies by charting matters of concern at three nodes in the system: an offshore oil extraction and processing facility (Das Island), a transit chokepoint (Strait of Hormuz), and the site one of the largest oil spills in history (Bubiyan Island). To imagine a society after oil foregrounds the past and present geographies of oil. Such extrapolation of issues critical to today’s oil landscape favors an approach to on energy transitions that upholds the geographies of technological systems — their processes, sites, objects, and externalities.

Regional map showing projects at Das Island, Strait of Hormuz, and Bubiyan Island.


Section through chokepoint, which is strategic to world oil supply


Underwater view of things—drones, submarines, and dolphins—that conduct mine countermeasures operations in the narrow strait


Tensile structures rest on the forest canopy to delimit ecological corridors that are critical for the survival of endangered elephants


Section through Corcovado Mountain showing series of grottos in which refuse, dead, and gray matter are processed


E-Fungi Volcano Rather than sending e-waste to graveyards in Africa, E-Fungi Volcano deploys fungi species over five levels of extraction to mine different rare earth metals from the e-waste stream in the Yongsan Electronics Market.


Platisphere Plastisphere recycles obsolete plastic waste and extrudes it into a plastidome that hovers on top of the Changsin hilltop toy market. Large diaphragms, called lungs, regulate sunlight and air pollution to create a tropical biome.







Atmospheric renders of ten islands against the horizon


Cyborg Fish Colony Deep-sea mining produces plumes that smother near-bottom species and forces them away from their habitats. Cyborg Fish Colony is a school of worker fish—a hybrid of machine and organism—that collects plumes into a massive spherical sponge-like nest where toxic particles are regurgitated into a delicacy, not dissimilar to caviar.


Below the Water Towers The sharply toothed, comb-like suction machines churn and rip the ocean surface into sediment slurry. A catchment dome caps mining activities on the ocean floor to contain a localized sediment plume. Polluted water is separated from surrounding water, transported into a series of inverted water towers for treatment, and gradually released back into the ocean after purification.


(All Aboard) the Cosmic Architekton The multi-species architekton embarks on its cosmic journey.


10000 Years Later Between Venus and Earth The descendent of the Ark’s population returns to Earth.


Biographies DESIGN EARTH DESIGN EARTH is an architectural practice founded in 2010 by Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy. Through architectural drawings, exhibitions, and publications, DESIGN EARTH investigates aesthetic forms of environmental engagement and visualizes how urban systems change the Earth. Their design research brings together spatial history, geographic representation, projective design, and material public assemblies to speculate on ways of living with legacy technologies on a damaged planet. DESIGN EARTH has exhibited and published widely. They contributed to the US Pavilion in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale and the Kuwait Pavilion in the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, the Boston Design Biennale, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, and the Sharjah Biennial. They have also contributed to solo and group exhibitions at institutions including Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon; Sursock Museum, Beirut; MIT Keller Gallery; Yale School of Architecture; Cooper Union Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery. Their work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art. The work of DESIGN EARTH has been awarded prizes internationally, including the Architectural League of New York’s Prize for Young Architects + Designers, Jacques Rougerie Foundation’s First Prize, and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Faculty Design Awards. They have also been recognized by the Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Awards in Representation and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Their research has been funded by Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Ghosn and Jazairy are authors of Geographies of Trash (Actar, 2016) and an exhibition catalog entitled Two Cosmograms (MIT SA+P Press, 2016). Their essays and projects have been published in the Avery Review, San Rocco, Volume, Domus, Abitare, Harvard Design Magazine, New Geographies, Journal of Architectural Education, Pidgin, ARQ Magazine, MONU, and Thresholds.


Rania Ghosn Rania Ghosn (b. Beirut, Lebanon) is an architect, geographer, and Assistant Professor of architecture and urbanism at MIT. Rania holds a Doctorate of Design from Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a Master in Geography from University College London, and a Bachelor of Architecture from American University of Beirut. She is the recipient of the Boghossian Foundation Lebanon Prize. Her work examines the geographies of technological systems to open up aesthetic and political concerns for architecture and urbanism. Rania is founding editor of the New Geographies journal and editor-in-chief of NG 2: Landscapes of Energy (Harvard GSD, 2010). Her essays have been published in Perspecta, [bracket], Journal of Architectural Education. El Hadi Jazairy El Hadi Jazairy (b. Algiers, Algeria) is a licensed architect in Belgium and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. El Hadi holds a Doctorate of Design from Harvard, a Master of Architecture from Cornell, and a Bachelor of Architecture from La Cambre in Brussels. El Hadi received the Europan 6 award and the Regle d’Or de l’Urbanisme. His research investigates spaces of exception as predominant forms of contemporary urbanization. El Hadi is founding editor of the New Geographies journal editor-in-chief of NG4: Scales of the Earth (Harvard GSD, 2011). His writings have been published in the Journal of Cultural Geography, Topos, and Journal of Media Geography.


Profile for Actar Publishers

Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment  

By: Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy / DESIGN EARTH How do we make sense of the Earth at a moment in which it is presented in crisis? Geostor...

Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment  

By: Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy / DESIGN EARTH How do we make sense of the Earth at a moment in which it is presented in crisis? Geostor...

Profile for actar