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ICELAND: ENERGY AS LANDSCAPE AN EXPLORATION OF THE SYNERGISTIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANDSCAPE AND GEOTHERMAL ENERGY

WORDS:4,117 WENQIAN WANG , NEWNHAM COLLEGE MAUD PILOT THESIS 2015-2016 An essay submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the MPhil Examination in Architecture & Urban Design (2015-2017)


ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

PILOT THESIS

WENQIAN WANG MAUD DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY


ICELAND: ENERGY AS LANDSCAPE AN EXPLORATION OF THE SYNERGISTIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LANDSCAPE AND GEOTHERMAL ENERGY

SUBMITTED BY Wenqian Wang SUPERVISOR Dr. Minna Sunikka-Blank COURSE DIRECTOR Ingrid Schröder

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS For their interest and guidance •Karl Benediktsson •Edda R.H. Waage •Keith Lee For his professionalism and involvement •Aram Mooradian For their love and support: •Family •Friends


ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

STRUCTURE

TABLE OF CONTENT

This pilot thesis aims at an understanding of the relationship between Icelandic landscape and its energy exploitation.

It begins with examining the role of landscape in defining Icelandic national identity through literature and filmography followed by research on conflicts between architecture and landscape which stem from renewable energy exploration.


INTRODUCTION

P.2

ICELAND TERRITORIAL CONDITION

P.4

AN ENERGY LANDSCAPE

P.8

METHOD + STRUCTURE

I. LANDSCAPE AS ICELANDIC "CROWD SYMBOL"

P.10

P.12

ICELANDIC CULTURE AND LANDSCAPES

P.14

MYTHODOLOGY AND LANDSCAPES

P.15

MODERN LITERATURE AND LANDSCAPES

P.16

ICELANDIC SAGA

P.17

LANDSCAPE IN NOVELS AND MOVIES

P.20

NATIONAL LANDSCAPE POLICY

P.22

II. INDUSTRIAL AND ARCHITECTURAL PROVOCATION ON ENERGY LANDSCAPE

P.24

ICELANDIC ENERGY LANDSCAPE AND ENERGY CONSUMPTION

P.26

ENERGY EXPLOITATION'S IMPACTS

P.30

ENERGY EXPLOITATION'S CO-HABITATION WITH NATURE

P.32

III. A TENTATIVE PROPOSAL: A SELF SUFFICIENT GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH

P.34

INSTITUTE

PROJECT BRIEF

P.36

SITE ANAYSIS

P.38

LANDSCAPE IMITATION

P.40

EXISTING PLANT

P.41

PROPOSED IDEAS

P.44

CONCLUSION

REFERENCES

P.46


INTRODUCTION THROUGHOUT THE LAST DECADE, INCREASING ATTENTION HAS BEEN DRAWN TOWARDS ICELAND, AN ISLAND A FOURTH THE SIZE OF UK WITH A DISPROPORTIONATE POPULATION OF 325,671. ICELAND IS AS BEAUTIFUL AS IT IS INHOSPITABLE, ITS VOLCANIC LANDSCAPE ARE SUBLIME WITH ALMOST EXTRATERRESTRIAL QUALITY. ICELAND’S REMOTE, PRISTINE, WILD AND EXTREME ENVIRONMENT OFFERS SETTINGS FOR THE CRITICAL STAGING FOR THE RENDEZVOUS BETWEEN THE NATURAL AND THE ARTIFICIAL.


TERRITORIAL CONDITION

ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

INTRODUCTION

ICELAND

UNITED KINGDOM

Area

103,001KM2

242,495KM2

Coastline

4,970KM

17,820 KM

Max. Height

Ben Nevis 1344M

Average Height

Havannadalshnukur 2,110M 557M

Agricultural Area

1%

70%

Forest

1.2%

12%

Water

2.7%

-

Glacier

14.3%

0%

162M

GEOLOGICAL MOVEMENT POLICIES NETWORK

MAP.1: [GIS DATA _ ICELAND AND EUROPE]

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5


TERRITORIAL CONDITION

ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

INTRODUCTION

TERRITORIAL DATA Population

323,002

Density

3.2 Inhab./KM2

Urban Population

93.7%

GDP

51,262$ / Capita

Languages

Icelandic

Foreigners

6.7%

Migration

3.4%

Average Winter Temperature

-10ยบC to 0ยบC

Average Summer Temperature

10ยบC to 25ยบC

Annual Precipitation

800MM to 1940MM

Bordered by : Atlantic Ocean Norwegian Sea Acrossing Eurasian and American Plates 290KM to its closest land Greenland 420KM to its closest Europe land Faroe Islands

MAP.2: [GIS DATA _ ICELAND TERRITORY AND MARITIME CONNECTION]

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ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

AN ENERGY LANDSCAPE

INTRODUCTION

Landscape is a distinctive national identity for Iceland’s culture and society. Iceland’s main industry is very much defined by its landscape. Geothermal and hydropower stations dot the landscape as a result of targeted industrial development. The energy resources in Iceland are vastly under utilised. After financial crisis in 2008, Iceland planned to export its abundant renewable energy to boost local economy(Katz,2013). Several cases of liquid hydrogen exportation to Netherland provided successful precedents of energy exchange(Katz,2013). Unique opportunities therefore arise in the form of demand for harmonic integration between energy exploitation and landscape preservation if not enhancement. Energy landscape, a form of landscape architecture still in its infancy is a topic encapsulating multidimensional problem of spatial, environmental, economic, energy, feasibility and particularly for Iceland, survival concerns. Can landscape architecture strike a balance between these concerns? What are the trade-offs for each concern, how can environmental impact be minimised, how does such minimisation affect other concerns? In Harvard GSD’s second issue of ‘New Geographies - Landscapes of Energy’(Ghosn,2010), a wide range of themes related to energy landscapes of oil exploration have been discussed. Although geothermal energy has not been specifically mentioned, parallels can be drawn between geothermal and oil on environment, urbanism, social, economic and technological aspects. ‘Energy as a Spatial Project’ by Rania Ghosn provides an comprehensive view of the space-energy relationship: "Energy needs space. It exploits space as a resource, a site of production, a transportation channel, an environment for consumption, and a place for capital accumulation. Whether oil pipelines, dams, solar panels, nuclear plants, or wind parks, all industrial energy systems deploy space, capital, and technology to construct their geographies of power and inscribe their technological order as a mode of organization of social, economic, and political relations. Popular taxonomies of energy have tended, however, to blur the distinctions between different modes and instead emphasize a renewable/nonrenewable binary that dismisses continuities between the conventional and its alternatives in an anticipation of a future beyond oil. Although essential to the production of energy, space has played a role in the myth of ecologically benign economic growth, because the creation of value in energy regimes has long internalized benefits and accrued them to the urban center while 'externalizing' costs-sliding them to the periphery, out of sight".(Ghosn,2010,p.9)

IMG.2: [GEOTHERMAL PLANT & LANDSCAPE]

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ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

METHOD + STRUCTURE

INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION •General Bcakground •Territory Condition •A Energy Landscape •Method & Structure

I. LANDSCAPE AS ICELANDIC CROWD SYMBOL ICELAND LANDSCAPE: CULTURE AND LITERATURE REVIEW •Definition of Crowd Symbol •Icelandic Mythodology with Landscape •Saga and Romantic Poems with Landscape •Landscape in Modern Novels and Movies •National Policy for Landscape Preservation

II. INDUSTRIAL AND ARCHITECTURAL PROVOCATION ON ENERGY LANDSCAPE

CONTENT

ICELAND LANDSCAPE: ARCHITECTURE AND TECHNIQUES REVIEW •Energy Landscape and Energy Consumption •Influences of Energy Exploitation •Geothermal by products and process •Techniques •Existing Architecture Co-habitation cases

III. A TENTATIVE PROPOSAL: A SELF SUFFICIENT GEOTHERMAL INSTITUTATE •Project Brief •Project Site Analysis •Existing Power Plant •Landscape Imitation •Proposed Ideas

CONCLUSION

REFERENCES 10


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LANDSCAPE AS ICELANDIC "CROWD SYMBOL" IN 1971, ELIAS CANETTI INTRODUCED THE TERM CROWD SYMBOL IN CROWDS AND POWER. HE DESCRIBED IT AS A SYMBOL INDISPENSABLE IN NARROWING DOWN A SELF-IMAGE FROM CONVOLUTED NATIONAL IDENTITY; IT COULD SUSTAIN THE PUBLIC SENTIMENTS OF NATIONAL BELONGING (CANETTI, 1971). ENGLAND’S CROWD SYMBOL IS THE SEA. FRANCE HAS ITS FRENCH REVOLUTION. ICELAND’S LANDSCAPES WHICH INCLUDE ACTIVE VOLCANOES, TREMENDOUS WATERFALLS, BLEAK LAVA FIELD, MOVING GLACIERS ARE INTIMATELY INTERTWINED WITH ITS RICH CORPUS OF SAGAS AND EDDAS, ITS CULTURE AND ITS NATIONAL IDENTITY.

IMG.3: [ICELANDIC MAN IN LANDSCAPE] 13


ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

CULTURE + LANDSCAPES

LANDSCAPE AS A CROWD SYMBOL

Perception and understanding of landscapes vary within and across individual cultures and throughout history. The perception of human and nature’s relationship is focused on landscapes and in the case of Iceland, reflected on manuscripts and folklore. Rich and profound ancient folklore from the times of Viking expressed awe and respect for the natural world. Dramatic spectacles of nature are anthropomorphized and endowed with new characters in Icelandic mythology and legend. Elves, trolls and even outlaws are rooted deeply in landscape and embedded in national culture. This veneration is very much alive as strange piles of rocks are often left undisturbed in the wake of building and road constructions due to the belief that they house hidden elves. In nineteenth century, Iceland ushered in a new era of national awakening after centuries of slumber under the control of Norway and Denmark. Hailed as the golden age for Icelandic literature, perception of landscape was reshaped from mystical worship of nature into contemporary view of landscape with ideological and political motives. In the book Draumalandið.Sjálfshjálparbók handa hræddri þjóð (Dreamland. A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation), Andri Snær Magnason (2006) emphasised on the distinct view that Icelandic national self-perception stems from landscape and nature. This view has strong mutual influence with literature from the same period and is closely connected to the political independence of the nation. Iceland’s extremely rugged and characteristically dystopian landscape was described as national landscape unparalleled by Danish wide plains terrain. Such a nationalist perspective is coupled with obvious appreciation of Icelandic literary tradition and eventually deemed as an argument for landscape preservation.

IMG.4: [ICELAND HIGH LAND AREA]

IMG.5: [ICELANDIC MYTHODOLOGY AND LANDSCAPE]

The Highlands of Iceland: they cover most of the interior of Iceland, Most of these area are uninhabitable volcanic desert. The vast mountain ranges are one of distinctive landscape characteristics differ from Denmark. Thus, they are regarded as national landscape unparalleled by Danish wide plains terrain.

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ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

LITERATURE + LANDSCAPES

LANDSCAPE AS A CROWD SYMBOL

Nationalistic literature tradition were interpretations of landscape cast in Romantic theme. Descending from medieval sagas, these patriotic poems are sprinkled with historical facts, blurring the boundaries between folklore and reality with strong focus on landscape resources and preservation. Jónas Hallgrímsson, Iceland’s beloved national poet is characterised by love of Icelandic landscapes, appreciation for similar sentiments in medieval sagas and appetite for national sovereignty. The poem Ísland, which was pubilished in the Journal FFjölnir in 1835, is a good example. It begins with strong emotion: "Iceland! fortunate isle! Our beautiful, bountiful mother! Where are your fortune and fame, freedom and virtue of old? All things on earth are transient: the days of your greatness and glory flicker like flames in the night, far in the depths of the past. The land was "beautiful and free" when "the famous forefathers and heroes of good freedom" came.

In the poem Gunnarsholmi(Gunnar’s Holm) which was derived from the saga of a tenth-century chieftain, Hallgrímsson delivered his creative and complicated perception of landscape - a longing for death in homeland - by an emphatic description of the location: "The fields so golden, roses in such glory, Such crowds of sheep and cattle everywhere! Here will I live, here die – in youth or hoary Hapless old age – as God decrees. Good-bye, Brother and friend." Thus Gunnar’s gallant story. For Gunnar felt it nobler far to die Than flee and leave his native shores behind him, Even though foes, inflamed with hate and sly, Where forging links of death in which to bind him."

(Ringler, 2002, p. 137)

IMG.6: [PHOTOGRAPHY_ICELANDIC WILDERNESS NATURE IN WINTER ]

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IMG.7: [ICELANDIC MEDIEVAL SAGA]


17


IMG.8: [ICELANDIC MEDIEVAL SAGA]

18


IMG.9: [ICELANDIC MEDIEVAL SAGA]

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ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

LITERATURE | MOVIES + LANDSCAPES

LANDSCAPE AS A CROWD SYMBOL

German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder theorised on cultural development and viewed human history as a rational extension of nature’s evolution; human and landscape experience a reciprocal relationship where humanity shapes and nurses landscape while landscape cultivates and influences cultural development. This union between human and nature is subject to the behaviour of particular culture which varies its disposition and utilisation throughout historical period. There is a direct correlation in inhabitants’ cultural perfection and their surrounding landscape’s aesthetic value (Kirchhoff and Trepl 2009). As depicted in Ísland, the landscape and cultural union were described both in the magnificent nature and munificent people. Under Danish rule, such union was perceived to be diluted and degenerated(Kirchhoff and Trepl 2009). Of course, landscape and nature’s magnificence were not in anyway undermined and thus continued to inspire and enhance Icelanders’ sense of belonging. The fight for independence since 19th was natural and embedded deep within the nation’s character. Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness’ Independent People was published at a time when Icelanders struggled for national sovereignty in the 1930s. Written under the theme of independence, Bjartur’s struggles resonate with Icelanders where they see themselves as a tough and resilient northern folk surviving isolation, frigid weather and unforgivingly harsh volcanic landscape. Today, the entanglement of landscape and human settlement continues to be a theme in modern Icelandic society. Contemporary Icelandic movies question the relationship between man and indomitable nature, debating the values of rural and urban lifestyle. The plot of Land and Sons (1980) centres around fatherson generation gap rife with loneliness, alienation and escape. The splendour and hostility of the landscape offer contrast and character to the drama; in this narrative, everything was pushed to its limits. The same conflict was presented in recent film Rams (2015). Bleak and desolate landscape as an accent in the film's setting, the depicted shepherds’ despair and struggles with scrapie outbreak in harsh winter is not dissimilar to medieval Icelandic saga. Life and death, past and future along with a stronger connection with landscape are again explored in the movie.

IMG.10: [NOVEL:INDEPENDENT PEOPLE] IMG.11: [MOVIE:LAND AND SON] IMG.12: [MOVIE:RAMS_SHEPHERD'S DESPAIR] IMG.13: [MOVIE:RAMS_BLEAK AND DESOLATE LANDSCAPE]

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NATIONAL POLICY + LANDSCAPE

ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

LANDSCAPE AS A CROWD SYMBOL

The stature of landscape in Icelandic society can be further observed in laws enacted to protect landscape. The Nature Conservation Act (1996) aims to “direct the interaction of man with his environment so that it harm neither the biosphere nor the geosphere” and Planning and Planning and Building Act (1999) aims to “encourage the rational and efficient utilization of land and natural resources, to ensure the preservation of natural and cultural values and to prevent environmental damage and over-exploitation.” Hypothetically, corruption of Icelandic landscape will be followed by its’ literature’s obsolescence in culture and history. Conversely, absence of Icelandic literature will no doubt cause a void in deference and attachment to the landscapes; entanglement of nation, culture and nature will cease to exist. In essence, Iceland’s landscape is an ideological palimpsest, just as Simon Schama described in his book landscape and memory,’ ‘its scenery is built up as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock’ (Schama, 1995, pp. 6–7)

IMG.14: [ICELANDIC GLACIER LANDSCAPE] IMG.15: [ICELANDIC UNIQUE VOLCANO LANDSCAPE (Source: heptagram)]

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23


INDUSTRIAL AND ARCHITECTURAL PROVACATION ON ENERGY LANDSCAPE BY DEFINITION, ENERGY LANDSCAPES ARE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENTS THAT EITHER PROVIDE OR ARISE FROM ENERGY EXTRACTION FOR HUMAN USE. THE GRANDIOSE AND DIVERSITY OF ICELAND’S ENERGY LANDSCAPES CALL FOR UNIQUE SOLUTIONS FOR HARMONIOUS COHABITATION OF NATURE AND ENERGY INDUSTRY.

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IMG.16: [GEOTHERAML LANDSCAPE WITH PIPES] 25


ENERGY LANDSCAPE+ ENERGY CONSUMPTION

ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

PROVOCATION ON ENERGY LANDSCAPE

Iceland’s energy landscape is extensive, running from northeast to southwest along the volcanically active division of shifting tectonic plates. It is heterogeneous; varying from smouldering plains to erupting lava fields; from gigantic mounts with glacier to snow meltwaters rivers; from boiling mud fields to moss tundra; from barren fissure land to fertile valleys. It is dynamic; earthquakes, volcano eruptions, lava flows and geothermal activities continuously reshape the landscape. While Iceland’s landscapes are often hostile, it is a manifestation of abundant renewable geothermal and hydroelectric energy generation potential which can be harnessed to the nation’s benefit. Many untapped geothermal and hydroelectric sites have been identified and remain to be exploited (Gipe,2012).

MAP.3: [ENERGY TRANSMISSION LINES]

IMG.17: [PHOTOGRAPHY_ICELAND ENERGETIC LANDSCAPE:NESJAVELLIR POWER PLANT]

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MAP.4: [ICELANDIC TECTONIC AND ENERGY LOCATION]


ENERGY LANDSCAPE+ ENERGY CONSUMPTION

ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

PROVOCATION ON ENERGY LANDSCAPE As of 2013, energy demand from aquaculture, agriculture and residential area are met by geothermal supplies whilst combination of geothermal and hydroelectricity provide for heavy industries. Existing energy generation capacity would need to be ramped up to meet rising energy consumption of an albeit small Icelandic population. Apart from domestic consumption, energy policy and energy export will also contribute to higher energy demand. Government Coalition Platform intends to replace imported energy with renewables (Icelandic National Renewable Energy Action Plan, 2014.) In 2012, a direct energy conduit plan of $2.1b was discussed between UK and Iceland(Katz,2013). The plan involves switching all domestic energy needs to geothermal and export hydroelectricity to the UK using world’s longest undersea cable(Elliott,2016). Further energy demands and expansion of its potential on energy productions would allow Iceland to tap into its energy landscape. The landscape is being provoked by fast-growing energy pipelines and facilities.

DIAG.1: ENERGY PRODUCTION IN ICELAND

Fising Agriculture

Industry Greenhouses

Swimming Other Industry

Snow Melting

Utilities

Swimming Pools Aquaculture

Residential Public Service

Electricity Generation

Ferrosilicon Industry

Space Heating

Aluminium Industry DIAG.2:GEOTHERMAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION 2013

DIAG.3:HYDROELECTRIC ENERGY CONSUMPTION 2013

DIAG.4

IMPACTS DEGREE ON ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS LOW

HIGH

Landscape + Wilderness

These preconditions transform Iceland into a cradle for renewable energy exploitation with unique landscape consideration. Such exploitation is not without its drawbacks. With the boom of apathetic plants, pipes, dams, dykes, platforms, powerlines and tarmacs, splendid visual landscapes and wilderness of highland plateaus and geothermal fields are negatively affected. Endemic surface features such as smoggy geothermal vent, hot spring and rare flora are reduced and replaced by noisy equipment and tools.

Geology + Hydrology Ecosystems + Soils Species Cultural Heritage

Geothermal Hydropower

MAP.5: [ICELANDIC TECTONIC AND ENERGY LOCATION 2]

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ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

ENERGY EXPLOITATION's IMPACTS ON LANDSCAPES

PROVOCATION ON ENERGY LANDSCAPE

As an example, the largest hydroelectricity plant in Iceland, Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant was blamed for the degradation of lake Lagarfljót through the diversion of water into the lake’s source, Jökulsá í Fljótsdal. The flow of Jökulsá í Fljótsdal became much higher, resulting in turbulent, churning water which picks up mud, reducing visibility and affecting aquatic life. As for geothermal plants, artificial ponds are dug in lava fields to contain impermeable geothermal waste fluid which is toxic (H2S, Hg, As, B, Cl) and saturated with minerals. Nevertheless, the prospect of uninhabitable landscape into one that utilising resources embedded beneath for a paradigm shift in architecture extremes.

Road

HIDDEN STEAM PIPE

turning harsh and fosters development by is exciting and calls under these contextual

Technologies are significant for cohabitation of nature and energy industry, especially if visual impact and pollution are to be minimised on the otherwise pristine landscape. In the context of geothermal energy, advanced techniques are applied to all stages from energy acquisition to energy consumption. Boreholes grouping facilitates environment friendly steam supply system with more economic benefits while minimising drill site area. Three types of steam collection pipes are suggested to reduce visual impact on landscape (Geirsson and Hrólfsson,2010). Hybrid cooling system controls steam plume according to weather and time of day, both keeping visibility high for nearby traffic safety and again reducing visual impact on scenery. Emission recycling techniques deal with toxic components like hydrogen sulphide (H 2S) which is broken down into hydrogen (H2) for clean energy; CO2 from catabolic process is reinjected into basaltic bedrock ground or turned into calcite as industrial material.

Mounted Earth Barrier

Road

SEMI-HIDDEN STEAM PIPE Road

NORMAL STEAM PIPE WITH SPECIFIC LANDSCAPE COLOUR

DIAG.5: [THREE TYPES OF PIPES TO REDUCE VISUAL IMPACTS]

IMG.18: [PHOTOGRAPHY_THE CONTROVERSIAL HYDROPOWER PROJECT:KARAHNJUKAR HYDROPOWER PLANT]

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF GEOTHERMAL POWER PLANT Geothermal Heat 3KM

Urcertain.

Hydrology

Insub.

Geology

Subst.

Landscape Visual Sense

2KM

Subst.

Land wastes

1KM

Consid.

Air Quality

Subst.

Archaeological Remains

Consid.

Sound Level

Consid.

Tourism & Recreation

Subst.

(Insub.:Insubstaintail effect; Consid.:Considerable effect; Subst.:Substantial effect) Level of Influences

REYKJANES POWER PLANT LAND AREAS

GEOTHERMAL WORKING PROCESS

APPLICATION & EMISSIONS

.HOUSING HEATING .SNOW MELTING

.OUTDOOR SWIMMING POOL

.ENERGY FOR VEHICLE (STORAGE TANK)

.FISHING FARM

.ELECTRICITY

(HYDROGEN STORAGE)

.GREEN HOUSES

SILICON DEPOSIT WARM WATER ELECTRICITY

WASTED WATER

PUMP

GEOTHERMAL EMISSION:

ENERGY TURBINES

(MAIN ELEMENTS)

HOT WATER HYDROGEN ENERGY EMISSIONS

STEAM EMISSION

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H1S H2S CO2 CH4 N2 H2 HEAVY METAL


ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

ENERGY EXPLOITATION COHABITATION

PROVOCATION ON ENERGY LANDSCAPE

Harmonious cohabitation can already be observed in existing cases. In Hveragerði, Frost og Funi guest house sits atop unstable geothermal field where boiling water steam and grey mud oozes and belch. Built on erupting fissure land in 1974, Krafla power station has since coexisted with violent natural forces; seismic and volcanic activities threatened its development several times, but it persisted, expanded and continues to operate today.

Krafla Plant

MAP.6: [Krafla Power Station Location]

Although Hellisheiðarvirkjunar landscape is largely scarred with craters and lava, scoria from volcanic fissures in such area is often rich and was used to construct roads to the Hellisheidi power station in 1970s. Waste products from geothermal plants have even spawned other industries in their proximity. One of Iceland’s most famous tourist attraction -The Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa - is amidst barren black lava field and fed entirely by the waste water output from nearby Svartsengi geothermal plant. With abundant geothermal energy, luxurious minerals, salts, fine silica mud and turquoise algae, the spa not only partially solve waste management but also gave rise to a new function. Its’ architecture epitomises synergistic industrial solution by providing purpose in an entirely different tourism domain. In geothermal fields, heat from the earth’s thin crust permeates topsoil. To combat Iceland’s frigid weather, clusters of greenhouses have been built to trap and use said energy for greens cultivations. Though novel, the idea has been likened to drinking water from firehose. Not all cohabitations were successful; early attempts of such ventures in Bjarnarflg as they were met with a string of failures when potatoes emerged from the ground boiled due to lack of energy management technique(Parnel and O'Carroll,2007). Icelandic energy landscape will very likely experience an exponential growth; creative, synergistic and groundbreaking new techniques along with deploying proven methods will be crucial to an energy landscape where there detrimental effects on nature are minimal if not non-existent.

IMG.20: [PHOTOGRAPHY_VOLCANIC LANDSCAPE:KARAHNJUKAR HYDROPOWER PLANT] Krafla Power Plant: A combination of brutal natural forces and human management. Enormous steam and sound hissing out of the bare volcanic ground.

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IMG.21: [BLUE LAGOON SPA WITH GEOTHERMAL PLANT BEHIND]


A TENTATIVE PROPOSAL: A SELF SUFFICIENT GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE IT IS IMPERATIVE TO LIMIT THE SCOPE OF THIS DESIGN BRIEF TO GEOTHERMAL ENERGY EXTRACTION.

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ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

PROJECT BRIEF

A TENTATIVE PROPOSAL: A SELF SUFFICIENT GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Energy extraction has seen conflicts with nature since the Industrial Revolution, most commonly in fossil fuel exploitation. Ecosystem in close proximity to oil well and fracking sites are often destroyed. Oil spills, flammable ground, contaminated water all too often result in irreversible ecological damages. Renewable energy extraction however has not witnessed conflicts of similar attribute nor scale which is in part due to lower adoption rate and also clean qualities of renewable. As seen in Blue Lagoon example, Iceland’s renewable exploits paradigm can be one of mutual promotion between energy extraction and nature rather than neutral or even detrimental. James Stirling’s picturesque manipulation on machine-age architecture and Ron Herron’s visions of Archigram’s Walking and Plug-in cities draw parallels with the resolution of contemporary concerns in energy and environment. Such mobile cities with sprawling and ever-changing megastructure could indeed be essential in Iceland’s constantly changing landscape where renewable is abundant. While Iceland currently endures and accepts catastrophe and reconstruct anew thereafter, it’s important to not preclude tapping into the potentials of aligning environmental awareness and modernist or futurist aspirations to produce symbiotic architecture. With the development of energy industries, the direct link among landscape, energy and architecture becomes apparent immediately. Speculative design solutions that incorporate alternative relationships between architecture and nature are often provoked. They are however oftentime relegated into the realm of science fiction or fantasy due to lesser economic incentive. Major concerns for architects undertaking such paradigm shift are architectural and spatial ramification, directly leading to illconsidered design briefs and elegant but irrelevant dreams. There is a real and urgent need for Iceland to have inventive but practical prototypes of machine architectures to fulfil the inevitable development global renewable energy market. However, machine-age architecture, Walking and Plug-in cities are beyond present time technical capabilities. Execution of such ambition not only requires great technical capabilities but also cost effectiveness and environmental impact studies. This pilot thesis therefore proposes a milestone between the futuristic and present. The project is in itself a full fledged architectural design with goals to resolve cohabitation issues but also pave the way to machine-age architecture. The location will be set in Reykjanes peninsula where two operational geothermal power plants reside. These plants already power Reykjavik, two smaller towns, fisheries and ports in the peninsular.

IMG.22: [REYKJANES GEOTHERMAL PLANT]

New establishments adjacent to geothermal power plants can be erected for the purpose of housing communities which specialises on geothermal scientific researches. The goals of these communities are two-fold: to demonstrate and research self sufficiency and to advance the techniques that addresses geothermal energy extraction issues; both of which will become cornerstone for the futuristic self sufficient machine-age cities.

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ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE These communities will be directly powered and sustained by its parent geothermal plant. Structures containing farms and fisheries can be erected and provide food security similar to the successful ventures that have already been observed. Community facilities like swimming pools, greenhouse gardens, spas, clinics, tourist centres and other essentials can also be established. Of course, given the presence of larger community like Reykjavik nearby, these facilities are not a necessity and can be implemented in phase based on criticality and feasibility; they are nonetheless a crucial transition to self sufficient mobile cities. Multiple prong approach in geothermal byproducts research can be utilised to find new storage method, processing method or even new use for geothermal wastewater, thoroughly eliminating the need for artificial lakes. Research centres in these communities will provide direct access to the source of the issue, along with inexpensive energy that techniques that involve hydrolysis may require. These technique can process toxic compounds into harmless one and also produce hydrogen from water which may become an energy storage method when there are energy surplus. Given the worldwide initiatives toward cutting global carbon emissions in 2015 UN Climate Change Conference, the proposed geothermal research centre can also serve educational purpose where knowledge can be exchanged with researchers from other parts of the world, helping Iceland in playing its role and contributing to worldwide community.

IMG.23: [REYKJANES GEOTHERMAL PLANT_SATELLITE VIEW]

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A TENTATIVE PROPOSAL: A SELF SUFFICIENT GEOTHERMAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE


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42


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ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

CONCLUSION

Be it medieval sagas, modern novels or movies, Iceland’s landscapes occupy an indispensable position. It rose from being a subject of awe and admiration to ideological prominence; this ascension witnessed Icelandic society’s growth, glory and independence. Landscape is Icelandic crowd symbol. With the development of energy industries, the direct link among landscape, energy and architecture becomes apparent immediately. Speculative design solutions that incorporate alternative relationships between architecture and nature are often provoked. They are however oftentime relegated into the realm of science fiction or fantasy due to lesser economic incentive. Major concerns for architects undertaking such paradigm shift are architectural and spatial ramification, directly leading to ill-considered design briefs and elegant but irrelevant dreams. There is a real and urgent need for Iceland to have inventive but practical architectures co-habitate with energy landscapes to fulfil the inevitable development of global renewable energy market.

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ICELAND: ENERGY LANDSCAPE

REFERENCES: Katz, C. (2013).Iceland Seeks to Cash In On Its Abundant Renewable Energy. Yale Environment 360, [online] Available at: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/iceland_seeks_to_cash_in_on_its_abundant_ renewable_energy/2697/ Give, P.(2012). Iceland: A 100% renewables example in the modern era. Re new economy, [online] Available at:http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/iceland-a-100renewables-example-in-the-modern-era-56428 Ghost, R. (2010). Energy as a Spatial Project. In: Ghost, R. ed. Landscapes of Energy. Cambridge: Harvard University Graduate School of Design, pp.9-10. Kirchhoff, T. and Ludwig T. (2009). Landschaft, Wildnis, Ökosystem: Zur kulturbedingten Vieldeutigkeit ästhetischer, moralischer und theoretischer Naturauffassungen. Einleitender Überblick. In: Kirchhoff,T. and Trepl, L. ed. Vieldeutige Natur. Landschaft, Wildnis und Ökosystem als kulturgeschichtliche Phänomene. Bielefeld: transcript, pp.13- 66. Hallgrímsson, J. (1835). “Ísland”. Fjölnir, 1,pp. 21-22. Ringler, D. (2002). Bard of Iceland. Jónas Hallgrímsson. Poet and scientist. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Land and son. (1980). [film] Iceland: Ágúst Guðmundsson Rams.(2015).[film] Iceland: Grímur Hákonarson Laxness,H.(1946). Independent People. New York: Vintage Schama, S. (1995). Memory and landscape. Bath: Harper Collins. Parnell, F. and O’Carroll, E. (2007). Iceland Country Guide Series. Melbourne: Lonely Planet Elliott, D.(2016). After Hinkley: Plan B. [Blog] DAVE ELLIOTT. Available at:http://delliott6.blogspot.co.uk Geirsson, S. and Hrólfsson, I.(2010), How to Make a New Geothermal Power Plant More Environmentally Friendly. In:Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2010. [online] Available at: http://www.geothermal-energy.org/pdf/IGAstandard/ WGC/2010/0231.pdf Ministry of Industries and Innovation, (2014). The Icelandic National Renewable Energy Action Plan. (s.l.): (s.n.), P.62 Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, (1999). The Nature Conservation Act no. 44/1999.(s.l.): (s.n.),p.18 Ministry of Iceland, (1999). Planning and building Act No. 73/1997, no. 135/1997 and no. 58/1999. (s.l.): (s.n.),p.71

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Halldorsson, A. (2013). A Pipeline sits at the Hellisheidi plant. [image] Available at: http://www.rdegrasse.com/AS/AMSci_18251_Jul_2013%20(1).pdf Bjargmundsson, I.(2013). Icelandic Geothermal Plant. [image] Available at: http://ensia.com/articles/icelands-steam-team-shares-the-joy-of-geothermal/ Niece, N. (2015). Hot water being pumped from a geothermal power plant.[image] Available at: http://nicknieto.com/blog/2015/06/ Ágústsson,B.(2014). Saga Photography.[image] Available at:http:// icelandictimes.com/a-photographer-in-the-footsteps-of-the-vikings-brynjaragustsson-photographer/ Ebi, K. (2008). Iceland_Godafoss_Snowy_3461. [image] Available at http:// LivingWilderness.com Overseen, G. (2006). The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant in Pingvellir, Iceland.[image] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_energy#/ media/File:NesjavellirPowerPlant_edit2.jpg Celeste. H (2015). Blue Lagoon_Iceland.[image] Available at http://www. willowbones.com/blue-lagoon-iceland/ TTstudio (2016) Geotermálna elektráren - Krafla.[image] Available at http:// www.ttstudio.sk/galerie/island/geotermalna-elektraren-krafla-2166.html

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Profile for Dan Ladyman

Energy as landscape _ wenqian wang  

Energy as landscape _ wenqian wang