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Shadowed Void_ Monumenting the world’s worst nuclear disaster Gerard O’Connell


“here are two states, separated by barbed wire: one is the Zone, the other, everything else.� - Svetlana Alexievich (1999)

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Shadowed Void - Monumenting the world’s worst nuclear disaster 30 ECTS-point thesis Gerard O’Connell sjb992 Supervisor: Ellan Braae Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource management Faculty of Science University of Copenhagen August 2016


Shadowed Void_ Monumenting the world’s worst nuclear disaster Gerard O’Connell


Early experience map highlighting the most important sites from my experience of the Zone


Preface As a child I recall watching a short documentary about the area around Chernobyl 10 years after the accident. I distinctly remember thinking ‘wow, what a crazy place’. This impression has shown resonance through recent years in a strong appreciation for the aesthetics of decay and the evolution of elements through time. This thesis is a combination of two of my passions; having worked and studied in the tourism profession for many years, I have continued to make connections between my fondness of travel and interest in landscape architecture. This has resonated in an interesting coincidence, when the time came to write this master’s thesis, in the 30th anniversary year of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. The material represents 30 ECTS credits and is the final project required for the completion of a Master degree for the Landscape Architecture programme at the University of Copenhagen. I would like to thank Professor Ellen Baare for her supervision and guidance; Rikke Munck Petersen for her advice and teaching; all of the tutors and professors that I have had the privilege of working with at the University of Copenhagen, Pennsylvania State University and Victoria University of Wellington; my fellow students and friends for their company and support; and lastly my family especially my mother and father whose selfless compassion, unceasing enthusiasm and infinite support has guided me thus far.

Gerard O’Connell

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The bright yellow of the ferris wheel stands out in contrast to it’s gloomy surroundings


Abstract The Chernobyl nuclear disaster has had and will continue to have a lasting impact on the world. Immediately following the accident an exclusion zone was created, removing all human in habitants and leaving behind an enormous void in the landscape. This area was deemed uninhabitable, dark and dead, and is known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Thirty years on from the accident this Zone is devoid of human life, but by no means is it dead. In the shadow of this disastrous event nature has filled the void and the Zone is now teeming with life. This Zone has unintentionally become one of the Europe’s largest nature reserves and possibly Ukraine’s most popular tourist attraction. This thesis aims to provide information about the nuclear disaster zone at Chernobyl and how it has become a tourist site. The Zone is unique in relation to traditional memorialisation theory, in part because it is changing as its buildings degenerate and its nature regenerates, but also due to the seemingly infinite effects of the accident. Dark tourism theory, including its sociological aspects, Foucoult’s theory of Other spaces (heterotopias), and specific design theories, lead to an analysis of the way in which the site could be curated. The purposed plan uses acupuncture style design interventions and connections to create a journey with points for reflection and potentially transformational experiences, which would enable the tourist to gain a much deeper and personal understanding of the impact and meaning of this tragic area. The thesis investigates the potentials of a contaminated, ruinous landscape as a tourist attraction and a heterotopian monument to the devastating demise of a utopian nuclear energy future and the collapse of a late 20th century political giant, the Soviet Union. Often introducing contemporary architectural interventions, which memorialise a particular event and facilitate activities such as tourism, run the risk of destroying the fragile pieces of a site’s history, atmosphere and authenticity, which it originally sought to protect. Therefore, the thesis suggests an alternative typology of memorial design which protects the site, strengthens its narrative and therefore more effectively memorialises and monumentalises the site and the experience.

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Resumé Tjernobylulykken har haft, og vil fortsat have, vedvarende indvirkning på verden. Umiddelbart efter ulykken oprettedes en udelukkelseszone, hvorfra man fjernede al menneskelig beboelse og i dets sted efterlod et enormt tomrum i landskabet. Dette område anses i dag for ubeboeligt, mørkt og dødt, og er kendt som ”the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone”. I dag, tredive år efter ulykken, er zonen stadig tom for menneskelig aktivitet, men området er på ingen måde dødt. I skyggen af den katastrofale begivenhed har naturen udfyldt det efterladte tomrum og zonen myldrer nu af liv. Zonen er, helt utilsigtet, blevet et af Europas største naturreservater og Ukraines muligvis mest populære turistattraktion. Denne afhandling har til formål at fremlægge viden om udelukkelseszonen omkring atomkatastrofen i Tjernobyl og om hvordan området er blevet til en værdifuld turistattraktion. Zonen er unik i relation til traditionelle teorier om mindesmærker; dels fordi området ændrer sig som bygningerne degenerere alt imens naturen regenererer, men også grundet de tilsyneladende uendelige, og vedvarende, følger af ulykken. Teorier om “Dark tourism” og dets sociologiske aspekter, Foucaults teori om heterotopier samt specifikke design teorier, har understøttet en analyse af hvordan sitet kan kurateres ved hjælp af præcise designinterventioner og forbindelser. Således skabes en rejse med mulighed for refleksion og tranformerende oplevelser, hvilket vil gøre den besøgende i stand til at opnå en dybere og mere personlig forståelse for konsekvenserne og betydningen af områdets tragiske historie. I afhandlingen undersøges potentialerne for at gøre et forurenet og ruineret landskab til en turistattraktion - et heterotopisk monument for det ødelæggende sammenbrud af en utopisk atomdrevet fremtid, og det samtidige kollaps af Sovjetunionen, en af det 20. Århundredes politiske giganter. Hvis man introducerer moderne arkitektoniske interventioner for at mindes bestemte begivenheder samt facilitere turisme, risikerer man imod intentionen at ødelægge de væsentlige og skrøbelige dele af stedets historie, atmosfære og autencitet. Derfor foreslår denne afhandling en alternativ typologi for design af mindesmærker; en typologi der beskytter sitet og styrker dets fortælling, og således mindes og monumentaliserer selve området og oplevelsen af at være der.

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Looking out at the famous ferris wheel amongst the bright summer foliage

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Contents Overture Preface Abstract ResumĂŠ Introduction Radiation

Site 5 9 10 15 18

Territorial Local History Area timeline The Accident The Clean up Today New Safety Confinement Personal experience Challenges & Opportunities

Theory Theory introduction Other Places Heterotopias Dark tourism Tourism in the Zone Stalker - The movie Real life stalkers Ecology Design theory The sublime

30 36 40 42 44 48 52 56 60 62

Site analysis 68

Actor network - Stalkers - Guards - Tourists - Nature The tourist zone Media mapping - The Tourist Zone - Chernobyl - Duga-1 - CNPP - Pripyat

70 74 84 88 95 96 102 109

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115 116 118 120 122 124 126 128 130 132 134


Precedent & case studies Aucshwitz-Birkenau Park Kalkriese Cultural Landscape Path Forgotten World Adventures

Design investigations

139 140 143

Early concepts Physical modelling 3D modeling

144

Design outcome Experiencing the Zone Local - The tourist zone Concept Focus site 1: Chernobyl Focus site 2: Duga-1 Focus site 3: CNPP Focus site 4: Pripyat

148 150 152

Requiem 156

Summary Reflections References Image references

158 160 164 175 187 213

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232 233 234 237


Duga-1 the Cold War radar in the eerie winter mist


Introduction

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Introduction & objectives On 26 April 1986 an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (CNPP) drew the world’s attention to this relatively unknown place in the ‘back woods’ of northern Ukraine. Chernobyl became no longer a term to describe a nuclear power plant, but a term used to describe the catastrophic events which followed the explosion and subsequent fires. The word Chernobyl has come to be synonymous with devastation and contamination of not only the physical environment, but also a term which suggests cultural destruction or a collapse in social relations. (Stone P. , 2013) In essence Chernobyl was an environmental and cultural disaster waiting to happen, brought on by the industrial and military technologies of the 1970’s and 1980’s from both sides of the Cold War. Created in the USSR, was a Soviet landscape that revealed the failure of the communist system’s model of “guns over butter.” (Rotfeld, 2012) Here the human race’s drive for ‘progress’ now coexists alongside the fears and lived realities of the known and unknown consequences of technology. Immediately following the accident a zone was created, removing all human inhabitants, leaving behind an enormous void, deemed uninhabitable, dark and dead. This is known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. On the 25th anniversary of the disaster in 2011 the Ukrainian government sanctioned official tours to the Exclusion Zone. Thus, Chernobyl has become an official destination associated with dark tourism. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the potential of role that landscape architecture could play to further facilitate the Zone as a tourist attraction, and a heterotopian monument. To do this one must attempt to understand the cultural fixation on sites of devastation and ruins which compels the tourist to visit these places, the connection between ruins and memorials, and the function these places serve in a sociological environment. Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker depicts an excluded ‘zone’, a quarantined wasteland that is littered with industrial debris and ruined military vehicles, inspiring fascination and dread for a world after the ‘fall’. These seductive ruins predict the destruction caused most iconically in 1986 by Chernobyl. This thesis aims to explore how the plot line of Stalker can be translated spatially to aid in the communication of the narratives which are currently understated in the Zone.

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Duga-1 standing tall amoungst the encroaching wilderness

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How can you understand a danger you do not see, you do not feel... until it is too late, and you are already fatally exposed?

Radiation Radiation is an immaterial danger that fills space but exists beyond our sensory capabilities. Radiation can be made present with the use of geographical mapping, making it phenomenally and conceptually present, also by the use of hand held devices such as a Geiger counter. It is considered vital to this thesis to have a basic understanding of the type and dangers of radiation. Understanding the type of radiation received, the way a person is exposed (external vs. internal), and for how long a person is exposed are all important factors in estimating and understanding health effects. (EPA, 2016) There are three main types of radiation emitted from radioactive atoms; Alpha radiation (α) Beta radiation (β) and Gamma radiation (γ). As radiation travels away from the source material, radioactive particles spread out, decreasing the intensity of radiation. Alpha radiation (α) Has the lowest penetrative strength (can only travel 2-3 cm). Alpha rays are the most dangerous to living organisms, but since they have a short range of absorption and an inability to penetrate the outer layers of skin they are not dangerous to life unless the source is taken inside the body, swallowed or inhaled, in which case they become extremely dangerous. It is estimated that chromosome damage from alpha particles is on average 20 times greater than that caused by an equivalent amount of gamma or beta radiation. (EPA, 2016) Beta radiation (β) β rays are harmful to the human body; they can travel around 10-12 cm. At close range beta particles are penetrative and can change the molecular structure of

This is a diagram of the ionizing radiation dose a person can absorb from various sources.

- Sv = “sievert” - unit for absorbed dose of ionizing radiation. - 1 sievert absorbed on one occasion will make you sick, and many more will kill you, the human body can safely absorb small amounts of natural radiation daily.

Living within 80km of a coal power plant or eating 3 bananas 0.3 µSv/year = 3 bananas

Eating 1 banana 0.1 µSv/year = 1 Banana

2 dental or hand x-rays 10 µSv = 100 bananas

1 day near the Fukushima plant on 17/03/2011 3.5 µSv = 35 bananas

EPA release limit for a nuclear power plant 250 µSv/year = 2,500 bananas

Living in a stone, brick or concrete building or a 12 hour flight 80 µSv/year = 4 chest x-rays = 800 bananas

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Dose from natural potassium in the body 390µSv = 3900 bananas

*1000 µSv = 1mSv* *1000 mSv = 1Sv


living organisms. Such changes in the molecular structure can be considered as damage, which ranges in severity. If the molecule affected is DNA, it can cause spontaneous mutation. (Christensen, 2014) Gamma radiation (γ) Gamma rays are short, high frequency waves that release electromagnetic radiation. Gamma rays are penetrating and can only be absorbed by 20-30cm of lead or 2-3m of concrete. They can cause damage at a cellular level, throughout the body. However, they are less damaging than alpha or beta particles, which don’t have the same penetrating potential. (Garcia, 2012) The health risks caused from radiation dose of Gamma rays is defined as the probability of cancer induction and genetic damage. High doses produce dangerous effects, absorbed doses measured by the unit gray (Gy) which scales the severity of acute tissue damage. (Christensen, 2014) Radiation units Gray (Gy) measures the absorbed dose of radiation (D), by any material. 1 Gy = 1 J/kg. Sievert is the measurement for the equivalent dose that affects that body. (Christensen, 2014) Interestingly, bananas are a natural high source of radiation. For the purpose of understanding, bananas have been used in the diagram below to aid in the understanding of radiation doses. Bananas contain the radioactive isotope; potassium, K-40, that is also found in potatoes, some seeds, kidney beans and Brazil nuts. Since bananas are continually processed through digestion, a person could never accumulate enough potassium to cause significant cell damage. (Garcia, 2012)

Smoking 25 cigarettes a day 1 mSv/year = 10,000 bananas

1 legal dose limit for a worker per year 50 mSv = 500,000 bananas LOWEST DOSE FOR RISK OF CANCER

2 hours near CNPP area in 2010 12 mSv = 600 chest x-rays

Dose limit for emergency workers in life saving operations 250 mSv = 2,500,000 bananas

Lowest does linked to increased cancer 100 mSv/year = 1,000,000 bananas

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Fatal dose limit (even with treatment) 80 Sv = 80 million bananas

Severe radiation poisoning, in some cases fatal 2 Sv = 80,000 chest x-rays

2 minutes next to the CNPP reactor core after the explosion 10 Sv = 100 million bananas


The length of time that the body is exposed to radiation is critical to the amount of damage inflicted. Exposure to 1 Sv of radiation over a short period of time would be enough to cause illness. (Christensen, 2014) In Chernobyl the majority of radioactive pollution is formed by Caesium-137 (Cs-137), Strontium-90 (Sr-90), and plutonium isotopes 238, 239, 240, and 241 (Pu-*) which later decay into Americium-241 (Am-241). (WHO, 2005) Data indicates that Cs-137 and iodine-131 (short-life period), rather than plutonium, are most hazardous. (WHO, 2005) Radioactive isotopes have different half-life periods. These periods can vary from a few hours to thousands of years. Radioactive isotopes also have a tendency to decay into other elements, for example; in a few decades plutonium-241 degrades into americium-241. Pu-241 has a half-life of 14 years, and Am-241 of 433 years. In addition to Americium, other isotopes of Plutonium enhance radioactive contamination. These are Pu-238 with a half-life of 87 years, Pu-239 with 24,110 years, and Pu-240 with 6,561 years. (Cantrell, 2012) An elements half-life describes the length of time before half of that element has degraded.

Caesium-137 contamination of Ukraine after the accident

Cs-137

1/2

Sr-90

1/2

Pu-238

1/2

U-234

Pu-239

1/2 U-235

Pu-240

1/2

Pu-241

1/2

U-236

Am-241

U-234

1/2

U-235

1/2

U-236

1/2

Am-241

1/2 0

15

30

Radioactive isotope half-lifes

90

430

6,500

24,000

20

240,000

24,000,000 700,000,000 years


Inhalation, Exposure Concumption

Brain Thyroid Lungs Breasts Liver/Kidney Gastrointestinal Track Gonads Bone

Parts of the body most affected by radiation

-Human effects The severity of effects exposure to radiation can have on the human body varies depending on what the exposure was and the dose received. Radiation destroys molecules by causing them to lose electrons. This could simply make you sick. However, once radiation damages DNA the body may not be able to repair itself. This can increase the chances of developing cancer, chances of birth defects and can also cause victims to become sterile. (EPA, 2016) -Thyroid Cancer Thyroid cancer is the most common adverse health effect from radiation exposure. From Chernobyl there is an undisputed increase in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer, especially amongst the children that lived through the accident. This has been attributed to radioactive iodine. Children consuming contaminated milk after the explosion absorbed radioactive iodine through their thyroid glands, which naturally accumulate iodine in the body. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends ingesting iodine tablets, which saturate the thyroid and prevents the absorption of the carcinogen iodine-131. A large number of patients treated with this method have been cured. -Radiation as harm and cure When radioactive atoms collide with the DNA of living cell nuclei, the cell may become cancerous. Once the DNA is damaged, the cell starts to divide rapidly and can carry on dividing endlessly. Very high doses of radiation can kill the living cell completely; this property is used in radiotherapy to destroy cancer cells. (EPA, 2016)

α

Depth of penetration of different types of ionizing radiation

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Concrete

Aluminium

Skin

Paper

γ Fat

Muscle

β


-Radiation in nature Natural radiation can be beneficial to plant growth. It is necessary for many plants to receive some form of non-ionising radiation. Radiation that produces light in order for photosynthesis to occur is a positive effect that radiation has on plant life. However, ionised radiation that occurs from nuclear material may result in weakening of seeds and frequent mutations. Some plant and animal species have shown a higher resistance to the damaging effects of radiation than others. These variations in sensitivity can disrupt ecosystems by eliminating a food source for one animal or creating an opening for another species to flourish in exponential numbers. (Meshkati, 1999) - Chernobyl effects The accident at Chernobyl severely contaminated the environment, it affected large sections of Europe, poisoning agricultural lands and food supplies. A lot of this land remains contaminated. Large areas of forest, water bodies, and urban centres were severely affected. The ‘Red Forest,’ located directly to the west of the power station was most noticeably effected, as shortly after the explosion the huge pine forest turned a reddish brown colour. The Red Forest received approximately 100 Gy of radiation. During the clean up the topsoil and most of the dead trees had to be bulldozed and buried in large trenches on site. (ReggieI, 2010) Water bodies were directly contaminated by deposition from the air, discharge as affluent, and indirectly as washout from the catchment basin. This affected the Pripyat and Uzh rivers that flow into the Dniepr River, which flows the length of the country through the Kanev and Kremenchug reservoirs and into the Black Sea. The groundwater in the area of the accident has aslo been contaminated. (Meshkati, 1999)

Migratory Bird (Barn Swallow)

Domestic Bird (Blue tit)

Deciduous Tree

Mammal (Red Deer)

Coniferous Tree

Radioactivity in the natural cycle

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The Red Forest, where the poisoned dead trees remain as petrified images of the disaster.

Two generations of vicitims recovering from thyroid cancer surgery 23


Site

25


+

Denmark

+


+

Ukraine

+


+ Belarus

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Poland

Kiev

Slovakia

Hungary

Moldova

Romania

+


+

Russia

Black sea

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Territorial The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is located in northern Ukraine in Eastern Europe, in the Kiev Oblast territory. More specifically, the location is approximately 100 km north of the capital Kiev and about 20 km south of the Belarusian border. The power plant and the town of Pripyat were built on the bank of the Pripyat River, a tributary of the Dnieper and 15 km northwest of the Chernobyl township. Large areas of woodland and marshes, locally described as ‘Polesia’ - meaning forestland, characterise the northern Ukrainian area. Smaller towns and villages are dispersed through out the area which historically had a very low population density – within 30km of the power plant the population was between 115,000135,000. Nearly 50,000 people lived in Pripyat, just 2.5 km away from the power plant, making Pripyat and the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (CNPP) important urban nodes in an area dominated by nature. The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which cordons off a 30km radius from the power plant, now dominates the territory. The Zone traverses the Ukrainian Belarusian border, where it is known as the Polesie State Radioecological Reserve. Access is still prohibited without special permission.

Site Route + CHP

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Checkpoint Point of interest Abandoned village Waterway Road Railway 30 km zone 10 km zone Forest Water surface

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Site Route + CHP

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Checkpoint Point of interest Abandoned village Waterway Road Railway 30 km zone 10 km zone Forest Water surface


Site Route + CHP

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Checkpoint Point of interest Abandoned village Waterway Road Railway 30 km zone 10 km zone Forest Water surface


Local Zooming into the Exclusion Zone, the key tourist trail has been identified. Connecting the town of Chernobyl, the 10km Checkpoint, Duga-1, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the town of Pripyat. Each of these sites contain iconic structures, which include symbols of the devastating nuclear catastrophe, the Cold War and modernist Soviet ideals.

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Luxembourg 2

2,586 km

Size comparison of the two zones with Luxembourg

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Polesie State Radioecological Reserve 2 2,162 km

(Belarus)

(Ukraine) Chernobyl Exclusion Zone 2 2,600 km

Combined total 2 4,762 km

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CNPP


History Chernobyl was founded in 1193; it is the oldest known settlement in the area. It is located near the banks of the Pripyat River a tributary to the Dnieper River which flows into the Black Sea. Therefore, Chernobyl served as an important connection between the north and the south of Ukraine. During the Second World War and up until the accident, Chernobyl had an important role as a transportation hub for the Ukrainian Soviet Republic. After WWII the population of Chernobyl began to grow with the development of the Repair and Maintenance Base of the Dnieper River Fleet. (Davies, 1998) Construction of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant began in 1970, 15 km north of Chernobyl city. In addition to the construction of the power plant, a town of 50,000 people (planned 75,000) called Pripyat was built 3 km away from the power plant to house the employees and their families. (Pripyat.com, 2004) At that time the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was one of the most technically advanced in the Soviet Union. Four reactors were started successively from 1977 to 1983. Two additional reactors were under construction, but were never completed; construction was abandoned a few months after the accident. (Rosenberg, 2006) The timeline on the following pages highlights the sequence of events.

Repair and Maintenance Base of the Dnieper River Fleet 40


Image

Pripyat under construction

Construction of the Chernobly Nuclear Power Plant - Reactor 4 nearing completion.

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1868

Map of the area

Town of Chernobyl founded

50,000

1193

Population

Area timeline

150,000

100,000

Time

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WWII begins

Construction of a repair and maintenance base for the Dnieper river fleet

1939

1946

2016 2017

1977 1978 1981 1983 26 April 1986 1986 1988 1991 1996 15 December 2000 2010 December 2011

New Safety Confinement predicted completion

Deconstruction of CNPP begins Tours inside the Exclusion Zone are legalised

3rd and final active reactor is shut down and the Chernobyl Power Plant is officially shut down

1st reactor is shut down

The Soviet Union falls. Ukraine gains independence. 2nd reactor is shut down

Polesia State Radiation Ecological Reserve is founded Belarus)

Thousands of residents are are evacuated and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is established

An explosion in 4th reactor at CNPP causes a melt down

4th reactor comes online

3rd reactor comes online

2nd reactor comes online

1st reactor comes online

Construction begins on the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Station (now known as CNPP) & of the town of Pripyat

The Soviet ‘Land improvement’ era begins Holodomer or the Soviet famine begins Holodomer or the Soviet famine ends 7.5 million Ukrainians dead

1929 1932 1933

1970

The Soviet Union is formed

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“It’s certainly true that Chernobyl, while an accident in the sense that no one intentionally set it off, was also the deliberate product of a culture of cronyism, laziness, and a deep-seated indifference toward the general population.” - Svetlana Alexievich (Alexievich, 2005)

The Accident The nuclear disaster at Chernobyl began as a test. Operators were attempting to find out how long the turbines’ spinning could provide auxiliary electric power for the running of the plant if the main system had failed. (Snell, 1988) The experiment was part of a bigger Soviet policy inspired by Lenin’s dictum: “Communism is Soviet power and electrification of the entire country.” This ideological demand meant that the test was aimed at achieving an uninterrupted supply of electricity - an attempt to better the 30 second threshold for the startup of diesel generators. (Rotfeld, 2012) Prior to the explosion the KGB had received reports on the poor quality of the equipment and multiple errors in both reactors 3 and 4. The reactor was designed without any limitation vessels that encapsulated the radioactive material. Technically it was an accident waiting to happen. Aside from the poor design, most of the safety features, including the cooling system, were turned off during the test. The cooling system would have been able to contain a lot of the steam, and most likely would have prevented the explosion. (Fatland, 2016) On the morning of April 26, 1986, at 1:23am, a series of explosions destroyed the reactor No. 4, tearing off its 1,000-ton steel and concrete cover and killing two plant operators. Firefighters from nearby Pripyat were immediately called to the plant. Flying fragments of fuel and graphite had started a large number of fires on the roof of the adjacent turbine building and elsewhere. (Snell, 1988) With no understanding of the real danger they were in, the firefighters battled the blazes through the night. Thirty one of the 37 firefighters that had put out the roof fires that night became ill with radiation sickness and died within weeks. (Snell, 1988) Days later, liquidation workers received shovels and wagons to help them with the task. At that time, it was not known that the explosion had exposed the reactor core. When a delegation from Moscow finally arrived, they flew a helicopter above the reactor and realised that the explosion had exposed the core of the reactor and lit a serious graphite fire. (Rotfeld, 2012) The fire burned for 10 days, infecting the air with radionuclides such as strontium-90, iodine-131, and caesium-137, which were particularly significant for the radiation dose they delivered to members of the public. Over the course of the station fire, it released the equivalent of several Hiroshima bombs, altogether releasing five times as much radioactivity as from the initial explosion. (Mycio, 2005)

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On April 27, workers at the Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden, approximately 1100 km from the Chernobyl site, detected nuclear particles on their clothes, and traced the source. (Alexievich, 2005) Chernobyl was about to become a household name and a major global issue. Smoke from the explosion and subsequent fires containing lethal doses of radioactive gases rose kilometres into the air. Europe was at the mercy of the winds. Countries that were seemingly at a safe distance now had highly radioactive patches due to the radioactive dust cloud that spread all over the continent. (Rotfeld, 2012) The extent of the accident was kept a secret to both the inhabitants of Pripyat and the power plant workers, who continued their work shifts in the other reactors. It wasn’t until two days later that the explosion was made public, with a very small section in the main Russian newspaper. (Alexievich, 2005) Thirty six hours after the explosion, the 49,700 residents of Pripyat, who had already been exposed to extremely high levels of radiation, were evacuated.

Change image

The destoried reactor 4 with radioactive smoke billowing out from the exposed reactor core.

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“We took nothing with us but our souls.” – Hanna Semenenko

They were told it was a temporary procedure and to pack only for three days. During the following week another 116,000 people were evacuated from within a 30km radius of the power plant. In the following years, 210,000 more people were relocated, due to contamination levels in their areas. Beside the Ukrainian population, Belarusian and Russian populations were also relocated from affected areas within their countries. Just under half of the excluded area is located in Belarus. In total 500,000 people were evacuated, of whom 140,000 could never return. The Exclusion Zone - a 30 km radius around Chernobyl was established. (Alexievich, 2005) Most of the evacuated inhabitants from Pripyat and the smaller towns and villages were re-housed in Kiev, while others were evacuated to other regions of the country, Moldova or the Baltic States. A year after the fallout, a new town, Slavutich, was built 50km from the power plant, to house the people from Pripyat who were still involved in the work and cleaning of the plant. (Garcia, 2012) Estimates as to the total number of deaths that resulted from the accident vary enormously. The World Health Organization puts it at 4,000, Greenpeace at 200,000, while independent Russian publications go up to 985,000 deaths. (RT, 2011) President Dmitry Medvedev spoke at a commemoration ceremony marking 25 years after the accident in Chernobyl, praising those who risked their lives cleaning up after the explosion shook the Soviet nuclear plant, and admitting that the Soviet government was wrong in trying to cover up the accident. “In the face of such disasters, we should be honest – it is the government’s obligation to tell people the truth. We need to admit that back then the government was not always doing the right thing.” (RT, 2011)

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May Day preparations continue in Pripyat - the population were not told of the the explosion and the danger they were in.

Buses as far as the eye can see - the evacuation of Pripyat 36 hours after the explosion at the power plant. 47


“Somebody had to do it…” – Alexander Fedotov (liquidator) (Fedotov, 2013)

The Clean up During the evacuation, a major clean-up process began. The workers involved in this process were known as liquidators. They entered areas designated as ‘contaminated’ between 1986 and 1989 to help reduce the consequences of the explosion. These people included power plant operators and emergency workers such as firefighters and military personnel, as well as many non-professionals. Their tasks included cleaning up the debris from around the reactor, construction of the sarcophagus, decontamination, road building, and destruction and burial of contaminated buildings, forests and equipment. Information about the danger involved was often unknown or suppressed. (Alexievich, 2005) One of the most dangerous jobs was clearing the debris from around the reactor building. Initially robotic machines were used to clean highly radioactive graphite and other debris from the roof of rector No.3, but these machines lasted a matter of hours before the radiation affected their circuits. So men were sent instead. Known as bio robots, they could only work in shifts of 40 seconds, heavily clad in lead armour. (Fedotov, 2013) Soon after the explosion it became clear that the consequences of the accident could not be ‘eliminated’ but only ‘reduced’. However, the title liquidation, referring to total and complete clean up, was already in common use by this point. Many of liquidators during the Soviet period were forced to work for a set period of time by direct order. However, thousands of liquidators, mostly military officers and skilled professionals, volunteered to participate or to extend their work beyond the initial compulsory term. It is estimated that up to 600,000 liquidators were involved in the clean-up. (RT, 2011) In an effort to stop the spread of radiation from the remains of reactor No. 4 a concrete construction, known as the sarcophagus, was built in the months following the disaster. The sarcophagus was constructed of more than 300,000 tonnes of concrete to act as a radiation shield. The sarcophagus, containing more than 200 tonnes of radioactive material, was built in haste, causing it to be neither durable nor strong. (Alexievich, 2005)

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“liquidators� on the roof of Reactor three. The white streaks at the bottom of the photo were due to the high levels of radiation emanating from below.

Construction of the symbolic sarcophagus nearing completion.

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Barbed wire fence of the Zone


Today Although many things have remained as they were left, other changes have happened in the Exclusion Zone during the years following the accident. From the beginning of this post-accident period nuclear scientists and researchers have had a full scale radioactive disaster to research and chart radioactive behaviour. Environmentalists and social scientists have had the chance to do research, surveillance and studies on the area, including its vegetation and animals and the people who were affected by the accident. However, research facilities in the Zone remain critically under funded and under developed. Today approximately 7000 people are working within the Exclusion Zone. While 3000 work on the remains of the power plant, maintaining the structures, cleaning up, etc. the other 4000 work mainly in the city of Chernobyl as police, checkpoint guards, fire fighters, researchers, scientists, guides and service employees. Except for the police, the fire-fighters and the guides who work in 14 day shifts, employees work from Monday till Thursday and return to Kiev for a three day weekend. Even though it is illegal to live within the borders of the Exclusion Zone, 350 people currently live there in the smaller villages. The inhabitants are primarily older people who had a strong wish to move back to their former villages, and they were given special permission from the Ukrainian government to move back in the 1980s. Some of the present inhabitants chose not to leave in the first place. An example of this is a couple in their 90s who are living in the 10km Zone, the most contaminated area. A recent development in the Zone concerns the condition of reactor 4 and the sarcophagus that was built around it shortly after the accident in 1986. In 2004 the Ukrainian authorities decided to commence the big work of stabilising the old sarcophagus, which was in danger of collapsing. In 2009 the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, agreed to a programme for a gradual dismantling of the power plant, making Chernobyl an “ecological safe place, clean of radioactive contamination” (RT, 2011) in about 50 years’ time. The plan involves various steps in dismantling the different reactors in the power plant complex, and “… the whole contaminated area known as the Chernobyl zone will be cleaned out step by step.” (RT, 2011) Right now the Ukrainian authorities have no concrete strategy about what should happen with the radioactive waste, and if no better solution is found the area may become an official disposal zone for the waste.

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Today the Zone is littered with signs warning of radioactive ‘hot spots*, a constant reminder of the imminent danger


2

kBq/m

2

Ci/km

1480

40

185

5

40

1.08

10

0.27

2

0.054

Data not available

Caesium-137 contamination of Europe from Chernobyl as of 2007

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Chernobyl

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New Safety Confinement Originally planned for completion in 2005 the New Safety Confinement (NSC) remains incomplete. Currently the projected completion date is 2017. (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) The NSC is a structure that will cover the original shelter project better known as the sarcophagus, which was hastily built in the months following the accident, to cover the destroyed reactor core. The sarcophagus was given a life span of 30 years, which will be over by the time this thesis is published. If this structure is allowed to collapse, tonnes of radioactive particles will be released into the atmosphere. (Garcia, 2012) This huge arch structure, tall enough to cover the Statue of Liberty, is being constructed offsite, 200 metres away from the existing sarcophagus to limit radiation exposure to the workers. Once the arch structure is complete it will be rolled over the sarcophagus. When in place it is expected to last at least 100 years, during which time remote control cranes will dismantle and stabilise the reactor and the old sarcophagus. Radioactive material will be kept on site to reduce further environmental contamination. The construction effort is supported by international funding. The project is expected to reach a total cost of â‚Ź1.54 billion. (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) This structure represents a new symbolic future for the Zone as it will soon cover the old iconic sarcophagus, the symbol of the disaster.

The consturction process of the NSC

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The New Safety Confinement, nearly completed and ready to be rolled on rails over the old sarcophagus

The old and the new. A view of the NSC arch from a roof top in Pripyat.

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CHANGE


Personal experience As stated previously in this thesis; I have had a fascination with Chernobyl from a young age. When the time came to visit the Zone, it was a bucket list moment. I had spent countless hours researching everything there is to know about the Zone – but nothing could have ever prepared me for the confrontation of the experience. I joined a tour group at the central train station of Kiev, and we drove north for just under two hours through the open marshlands of northern Ukraine. Our first stop was the first checkpoint into the 30km Exclusion Zone, which I am told acts as more of a buffer zone for the highly contaminated 10km zone. Here our passports and documents were checked. The first stop after the checkpoint was the town of Chernobyl from which the power plant got its name. This town is not empty but it has a very sombre atmosphere to it. After Chernobyl we passed through the second checkpoint into the highly contaminated 10km zone. The experience became even more surreal, this is it, we have entered another world. Shortly after passing through the checkpoint we to a turned off the main road to head towards a secret military facility, home to the infamous Duga-1 or the ‘Russian woodpecker’; a Cold War era radar that baffled western radio transmitters for years with a constant tapping sound. Authorities traced the tapping to a point in the Soviet Union but its location was not fully discovered until the fall of the Soviet Union. Empty buildings line the pathway, each soulless window a symbol of abandonment. Walls are covered in murals - remnants of Soviet propaganda. The road narrows as the forest closes in and then it comes into sight. A colossal steel giant. The Duga radar is the most impressive gantry structure I have ever seen. This was a moment I wasn’t truly anticipating. This relic of Cold War technology blew me away. Standing under it was a sublime moment, but I wondered about the view from the top. You can climb it but the ladders are rusted beyond a safe point for somebody who values their life. Back on the road we headed towards the epicentre of the disaster, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. As we came closer, a structure came into view in the

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distance, a huge steel arch, this is the New Safety Confinement Arch – a billion dollar project designed to enclose the existing crumbling sarcophagus. We drove around, along the edge of the cooling pond canal, I struggled to take it all in. The unfinished cooling towers, the crane covered reactors 5 and 6. Then reactors 1, 2, 3 and the sarcophagus covering the exploded reactor 4, with is red and white chimney. There it was, the symbol of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. It was daunting, dreadful, deadly, but completely mesmerising. We stopped at a viewpoint to hastily take photos and attempt to reflect on this figure of disaster and human folly, before our guides abrasively pushed us on. Although I had a lot of knowledge of the accident and the area, the full extent of it only truly hit me when I got out of the van in the centre of Pripyat. Huge apartment buildings stood empty and dishevelled, a haunting image of the human impact of the disaster. We walked quickly along tracks in the snow, following the guides as they rushed through the site. Our Geiger counters were beeping continuously as a warning of the imminent danger we were in. We walked through the over scaled modernist main square broken up by rogue vegetation, onto another symbolic structure of the Zone; the ferris wheel. Thirty long years has sucked the colour out of most things but not the bright yellow of the ferris wheel. Each structure added another layer to the confrontation. Again there was no time to reflect as the guides move us on to the stadium where the football pitch has become a forest, bearing witness to yet another triumph of nature. Further on was the swimming pool, made infamous from video games set in the Zone. Then a primary school where the floor is covered in children’s gas masks, a haunting sight, even known the scene has been staged. We headed back towards the main square for the final excursion. After climbing stair after stair we made it to the top of one of the tallest buildings in Pripyat. The mist had enclosed us; you could only just see the ground. Still a deeper sense of scale was achieved from this level change. It was a fitting conclusion to an intense first-hand experience of a post-apocalyptic nuclear fallout world. The whole site, built in total functional practicality is strangely awe inspiring and breathtakingly beautiful. Once my experience had ended a few things had become very clear, this accident is a testament to the failings of a utopian promise, nature is amazingly powerful and resilient, and having a guide completely took away from the reflective quality of my experience.

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Challenges & Opportunities - An imminent danger The very reason the Zone exists poses its biggest challenge. The radionuclides that were deposited in the soil from the accident still exist, and in some areas the levels of radiation are extremely high. These areas will remain highly contaminated for thousands of years. A recent study conducted by Oecologia (Mousseau, Milinevsky, Kenney-Hunt, & Møller, 2014) shows that the leaf litter and other organic matter in large contaminated areas is not decomposing. This is due to the damaging affect of radiation on organisms such as microbes, fungi and insects that are vital for the process of decay. These organisms recycle organic matter into soil and are an essential part of any ecosystem. With a decrease in this process the organic matter has built up over 30 years. Hot dry summers in the area produce a huge risk of wild fires. This risk, coupled with 30 years of tinder, has created a ticking time bomb, waiting for a wild fire to get out of control which could redistribute radioactive dust particles into the air and Europe will once again be at the mercy of the winds, a Chernobyl 2.0. Unfortunately there is no known solution for the lack of decomposition therefore further research projects are needed to find ways to reduce this problem. As for now, a stringent watch needs to be kept on the Zone to mitigate the risk of any small fires that start getting out of control. There are many more known and unknown problems facing the Zone. Therefore, implementing research opportunities and facilities is a hugely important concept. A terrible event took place here, but the research possibilities of the Zone are vast. Facilities need to be implemented to take advantage of the opportunity to further investigate the damaging environmental effects and to explore possible solutions, providing invaluable future learning for not only the Zone but also Fukushima and any future catastrophes of this kind. Further research is also needed into more permanent and fail safe storage facilities for nuclear waste. - No future plan for tourism Tourism in the Zone is on the rise. This presents an opportunity as well as a risk. At the moment tours into the Zone are run by private companies and none of the money from tourism in the Zone is put back into the Zone. Little or no

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infrastructure is in place to manage tourism within the Zone. This provides an opportunity to centralise tourism operations and the possibility of direct funding, which can go into maintaining infrastructure and research development. Almost every day guided tours enter the Zone. Once in the Zone these tours are only restricted by time and tour guides. To explore the Zone in one day, the tours are quick and people are constantly made to move along. There is a lack of independent exploration. On guided tours people move at the tour’s speed, stay only as long as the tour guide allows, and go only where the tour guide says. This takes away from the tourist’s deeper personal experience and reduces the possibilities of unexpected moments of personal reflection and understanding. The tours are over controlled but the rest of the activities in the Zone are largely under controlled. Looters and poachers are illegally entering the Zone to hunt or scavenge for anything of value and are imposing huge risks to the infrastructure, wildlife and the public outside the Zone, as they are selling contaminated artefacts or radioactive produce. An increase in control would also help at this point to mitigate the fire risk. - Degrading infrastructure The harsh winters and hot dry summers have taken their toll on the infrastructure of the Zone. Some of buildings in Pripyat are becoming increasingly unsafe and it will not be too long before they are complete ruins. This poses a challenge to safety, as it is now it is illegal to enter buildings but all tours are taken into buildings, despite the law. An enter at your own risk policy adds to the attraction and realism of the Zone. - Construction Due to the contaminated land, normal construction techniques become very difficult, because any ground works could unearth lethal radioactive particles and dust. Before any intervention is put in place the ground needs to be properly surveyed for such dangers. Interventions that require earth work also need to be limited, attaching intervention structures to existing structures where possible is seen as the best way to approach this challenge.

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A firefighting helicopter dousing a wildfire in the Zone. Wildfires are the biggest threats to the spread of contamination


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Theory

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Theory introduction One of the principal objectives of this thesis is to consider the Zone itself as a contemporary memorial. It considers how facilitating tourism through noninvasive architectural interventions can be used to actively convey and enhance the narrative of the historic abandoned site, thus maintaining the story for future generations. The Zone has an inherent narrative that arises from the name ‘the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone’, this Zone is a legacy to a failed technological utopian future, the resilience of nature, and the sum of the cultural and historical remnants that affect and contribute to the atmosphere of the site. This is a first-hand experience of a real world post-apocalyptic dystopia. This thesis proposes that capturing, reinforcing and adding to these inherent narratives will strengthen the Zone’s ability to facilitate tourism, while having minimal impact on the overall authenticity and experience of the Zone. This would enable a vital chapter in world heritage to be memorialised. This theory chapter considers two critical perspectives for addressing the site as a dark tourism hotspot: The Zone as an Other place - a heterotopia, and dark tourism. Having addressed these, the narratives of use will be investigated with Stalker the film, real life stalkers and ecology. These themes and narratives will be investigated through seven design theories that are critical for the aims and objectives of the thesis design: Curating an Experience; Pathway and Pause; Narrative and Procession; Epiphanies; Environmental Movement: Semiotics and Mnemonics. Finally the overarching concept of the sublime will be explained. The theories relating to these perspectives are assimilated around the idea of curating a path/route connecting the unique existing phenomena of the Zone with several designed mnemonic and sensory experiences that will enhance the sublime experience of the Zone. This methodology will be used to achieve a heightened narrative and enhanced connection to the site’s identity and history. Pathway experiments will be designed to incite adventure and curiosity in visitors through connections, themes, and suggestions. These will be integrated with the goal of producing independent perceptions of ‘narrative’ and personal connections to the site which stay with the tourist long after they have gone. Through such perceptions, the allure of the Zone will further its relevance in history as the remnant of ‘progress gone wrong’. These theoretical perspectives, when integrated into design, will be used to test solutions that highlight and respond to the issues and potentials of the Zone.

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The most significant situations that need to be addressed are: creating a balance between the facilitation of tourism activities and the authenticity/atmosphere of the site; and both drawing attention to and mitigating the existing high risk of potentially catastrophic contamination from radioactive isotopes left over in the soil and foliage. The thesis proposes that these issues can be addressed and rectified through the use of ‘acupuncture’ design and the implementation of a connecting route that ‘curates’ the existing iconic features in the landscape of the Zone. The theories explored in this chapter present opportunities and ideas for the interventions to successfully achieve the overall design goal of monumentalising the ruins of the Chernobyl disaster.

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Other Places - Heterotopias Renowned philosopher and social theorist Michel Foucault introduced the perplexing term ‘heterotopia’ in 1967. Literally meaning ‘of Other Places’ he used the term to describe an assortment of places that interrupt the apparent continuity and normality of everyday space. (Foucault, 1967)(Stone, 2013) Heterotopias can be physical or mental spaces that act as other places alongside existing places. Heterotopias have a precise and determined function and are reflective of the society in which they exist. They also have the power to juxtapose several real spaces simultaneously as well as being linked to the accumulative or transitory nature of time. (Foucault, 1967)(Shane, 2005) The Zone is a monument to the secrecy and failings of Russian ways of dealing with issues taken to an extreme during the Cold War. It is a warning from history about the failure of a nuclear-energy utopia, and a place located within the ‘badlands of modernity’ that can provide a surreal counter-hegemonic representation of space. (Hetherington, 1997) Thus, the Zone as a space of technical, political and cultural importance allows for deep personal reflection, through its touristic production and consumption. The Zone can be viewed as a heterotopia; a ritual space that exists outside of time. A place in which time is not only arrested but also notions of Otherness are experienced in a post-apocalyptic place. (Stone P. , 2013) While a full critique of heterotopia is beyond the scope of this thesis, the paradox of heterotopia is that it is a space both separate from yet connected to all other parts. In essence, heterotopias are spaces within places and places within spaces. (Shane, 2005) Therefore, heterotopias are everywhere. (Dehaene & De Cauter, 2008) The Zone as a contemporary tourism attraction can be viewed under conceptual heterotopian frameworks that open up different complex layers of relationships between the space and its consumption. Foucault offered six principles that loosely outlined his notion of heterotopia, which Stone (2013) re-titled and contextualised into tourism. These principles will now be examined and linked to the role of landscape architecture in the future development of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. A number of the heterotopian principles can shine light on Chernobyl as a place for tourism and its relationship with the cultural condition of contemporary society. Dr Philip Stone (2013) created an adaptation of Foucault’s principles of heterotopias that is contextualised within the tourist experience of the Zone, which will later be

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investigated through experiential design investigations and theory. Principle 1: Heterotopias of Crisis and Deviation The touristifaction of Chernobyl showcases the crises of an old world order, its technological failings and political divisions. It can now be consumed and contemplated while tourists are simultaneously connected to the new world order of turbulent transformations in society, culture, politics, and economics. Therefore, Chernobyl as a heterotopia of crisis is a place where the tourist can not only observe crises of the past, but can also connect the present predicaments and contemplate future uncertainties. This kind of experience is serious in that it offers tourists time and space to reflect upon otherwise taboo topics — in this case death, decay and man-made disaster. (Stone P. , 2013) Principle 2: Heterotopias of functionality As Alexievich (1999) pointed out after her visit to Chernobyl: “here are two states, separated by barbed wire: one is the Zone, the other, everything else. People come to the Zone as they do to a cemetery. It’s not just their house that is buried here, but an entire era. An era of faith. Of science. In a just social ideal.” Chernobyl now functions as an icon of a failed political dogma as well as being symbolic of distant utopian ideals and Soviet power. (Stone P. , 2013) Principle 3: Heterotopias of Juxtaposition Wandering through, gazing upon and celebrating ruins has a long history. Edensor, (2005) argues that since the Renaissance, the pleasure of ruins has derived from experiencing the impact of the past in the present; an opportunity to gaze on failed technological creation; as well as revelling in gothic qualities of death and decay. Unfortunately, Pripyat’s ruin is largely the result of systematic looting, rather than natural decay or the accident. Even so, Pripyat has been dubbed a ‘modern Pompeii’ (Todkill, 2001), and its juxtapositions of the real and familiar with the surreal and the alien allow tourists to consume not only a sense of ruinous beauty and bewilderment, but also a sense of anxiety and incomprehension in a petrified place that mirrors our own world. (Stone P. , 2013)

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It is possible to investigate the intriguing and romantic qualities of the ruins of the Zone and consider how they can be highlighted and enhanced. Wischer (2012) has explained that ruins are: “interventions that engage the dexterity of the body in an imaginative association with the world, involving a process that evokes ‘the most primary form of ritual”, the interpretive and imitative reconciliation of experience via memory.” Although the buildings (now ruined) within the Zone were not originally destined to be historically important they have, through the severity of the accident and subsequent abandonment, become objects that carry significant cultural and historical importance. The fascination with historical items is something that many people experience. People already have a fascination with cultural history and the remnants of rail, road, forestry, mining and other industries. This thesis proposes that the ruins of the Zone are strong significant objects with mnemonic capacity that ‘tell the tale’ of the Zone, thus becoming monumental elements of the landscape and, with the growth of the surrounding flora slowly taking over, will subsequently be a living memorial to the disaster. Principle 4: Heterotopias of Chronology The Zone as a heterotopia of chronology is similar to that of a museum, indefinitely accumulating time. When the accident occurred in 1986, time was arrested and the mandated zone ceased to function from that moment. Tourists now visiting the Zone are regulated so as to spend short periods in the Zone and consume the landscape in the moment. The Zone is a glimpse into the past and an indication of the future, experienced as a singular. Principle 5: Heterotopias of (De)Valorisation The Zone is not a freely accessible place, but the addition of tourism to the Zone has added value. Pripyat has seen thousands of visitors, many of whom were urban photographers who have rearranged ordinary everyday items to create juxtapositions for emblematic effect. Despite being allowed valorised access to the place, manufacturing the presentation of artefacts by these photographers excludes the tourist from the authentic reality of the evacuation itself. Principle 6: Heterotopias of Illusion and Compensation Ruined landscapes are presented as a vision of technical and political folly, and resulting from society’s disrespect for the natural environment as well as a warning of an apocalypse of civilisation itself. The illusion, of course, is the authorities’ endeavour to try to persuade the tourist that the manufactured calamity of the

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Zone has been regulated, limited, and thus controlled. The Tourist consumes this supposed illusion as they wander through the dead zone, arbitrarily ‘protected’ by Geiger a counter that sings warnings of impending ailments. However, while the tourist attempts to capture the horror of the Zone, the Otherness of the place begins to invade the senses and a feeling of the sublime can give way to feelings of a pervasive anxiety inherent in contemporary society. (Goatcher & Brunsden, 2001) Hence, not only does the Zone represent a microcosm of an apocalyptic world, the ordinary world outside the Zone is brought to attention and exposed in all its political disorder and fragile societal frameworks in which we are all located. (Stone P. , 2013) The Zone offers a counter-balance space that links us to present-day concerns about the possible ruin of our own environments. As Dobraszczyk (2010) states, “if the voices of Chernobyl and Pripyat are to speak to us clearly, they must do so through the ruin that bears witness to them... in this sense, ruins become the foundation on which to build the future”.

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Dark tourism Visits to sights of death and destruction can be dated back to the 19th century, where visits to morgues were commonplace in Paris. Some argue that it has been a theme in travel for millennia, stating the tomb of Christ as the first site of dark tourism. (Lennon & Foley, 2000) Dystopian tourism or dark tourism is not going away, in fact it is a growing phenomenon, where places such as AuschwitzBirkenau and Ground Zero are commonplace in travel itineraries. The term dark tourism was coined by Foley and Lennon in 1996 as they examined the relationship between tourism attractions and an interest in death. (Podoshen, Venkatesh, Wallin, & Andrzeje, 2015) The term itself is associated with academia; there is now an Institute for Dark Tourism Research at the University of Central Lancashire headed by Dr Philip Stone. From a socio-cultural standpoint dark tourism provides members of the public with an opportunity to reflect upon death and disaster. The tourist can juxtapose reflections of an inevitable mortality with those of conscious and even hyperreal experiences. (Podoshen, Venkatesh, Wallin, & Andrzeje, 2015) This chapter aims to explore the consumption of the Zone as a dark tourist destination, and the relationship between dystopian/dark tourism and the memorialisation of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone as a post-apocalyptic heterotopia. It is important to note that although the term dark tourism, and its association with death and destruction, has a sinister aspect attached to it, in most cases it is not particularly sinister at all. Stone (2012) argues that for most people, it is not so much about consuming narratives of death, but rather, of contemplating life and living in the face of inevitable mortality. There is no real dark tourist per se, most people have been to a place that is considered a dark tourism site, but there are different shades or levels of dark tourism. A dark tourist could be described as somebody who has an interest in understanding a past event that has resonance within oneself. The urge to visit these places could come from something that has personally affected the tourist or simply captured his/her curiosity, and instead of experiencing it through imagery or text the person has decided to experience it in person. How does it differ from regular historical tourism? The two are one and the same. Dark tourist sites are part of history. They are separated by chronological distance. As sites evolve through time, first hand memory evolves into remembrance and with time becomes transformed into memorialisation and eventually into history.

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Many have written about how people are drawn to sites associated with death and disaster (Podoshen, Venkatesh, Wallin, & Andrzeje, 2015), which is important in terms of understanding the human condition. Stone (2013) notes that dark tourism as a practice really informs us of ourselves and our own mortality. Dark tourism acts as a mediator between one’s own life and that of the victims, allowing the tourist to reflect on their own mortality. Other, and perhaps more obvious, mediators between the living and the dead included; gravestones, cemeteries and ancient burial grounds, as well as informal shrines at locations where people have been killed or murdered. Roadside crosses are an example of this. These sites allow a place or a moment for personal grief, whether the grief is connected to the site itself or comes from within the viewer. Designing for the tourism experience aims to bring all of these narratives together and to allow the tourist to reflect on them. What are the potential roles of dark tourism and the rituals of the tourist experience in construction of ‘place’? Can the Zone provide a new alternative for how other contaminated or ‘dark tourism’ sites might be developed as marginal spaces? By examining the Zone as a heterotopia, this thesis suggests the popularising of the Zone through dark tourism. Landscape architecture allows the narratives of the past to be woven into the present, and utopian ideals of the former Soviet Union are exposed within the ruins of a dystopic space and a heterotopic place, thus providing a new precedent for memorialising scarred landscapes and the development of their narratives. (Stone P. , 2013) - Dark tourism as a Narrative Typically, narratives are imparted at dark tourism sites through formal interpretation. The victims are communicated and socially filtered through tourism information and representations. Nevertheless, the imparting of formalised and specific narratives at dark tourism sites is a first step in the overall mediation of a mortality experience, “whereby death and suffering is presented and interpreted in order to be consumed as a tourist experience.” (Sharpley, 2009) - Dark tourism as Education By providing particular narratives and memorials, sites of destruction can be encountered for educational purposes. Within the Ground Zero complex tourists are presented with the opportunity to learn about the events leading up to, during and after 9/11, albeit in a strictly maintained environment. This is similar to that

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of the Zone, in a slightly less maintained manner. Educational narratives are integral to the overall dystopia design of the tourist attraction. (Stone P. , 2013) - Dark tourism as Entertainment Death and tourism may appear an anomalous conjunction; yet, dark tourism provides a safe, socially sanctioned space to ‘consume’ an otherwise taboo topic. (Stone 2013) While some dark tourist attractions have an element of fun involved in them, it would be morally wrong to suggest tourism to either Ground Zero or Auschwitz-Birkenau is entertaining. However, tourism at these sites is, for many, part of a broader leisure travel itinerary. The Zone exists in a grey area here. It does not have the same on site association with death as Ground Zero or Auschwitz-Birkenau, but to compare it to a site for entertainment is unthinkable. Secondly, the Zone is in a more untraveled area. On a survey taken during a trip to the Zone, the answer was 50/50 to the question whether tourists had travelled specifically to Kiev to visit the Zone. Ethical implications aside, the ruins of the Zone are consumed by some tourists some of the time as a kind of ‘dark leisure’. - Dark tourism as Memories Images and depictions of death and disaster can haunt people; indeed, memories of murdered individuals or groups of collective victims that were/are affected by tragedies can haunt society. For instance, the atrocities of the Holocaust represented at Auschwitz-Birkenau have been organised into a collective narrative which allows individuals to identify and make connection with the narrative. The ghostly ruins of the Zone could be incorporated in a similar manner. Thus, creating a place, much like Auschwitz-Birkenau, that “may haunt individuals as they face up to personal notions of health and mortality.” (Stone P. R., 2012) - Dark tourism as Memorialisation While disturbing scenes and places may cause powerful confrontations for individuals, it is these confrontations with one’s own presence coupled with remembrance and memorialisation which allow dark tourism and memorial architecture to supplement each other. Here, it is important to acknowledge that remembrance is not memory (King, 1998) as “remembrance entails commemoration and memorialisation of those whose suffering and death one may not have personally witnessed” (Walter, 2009). This is where the concept of chronological distance becomes important, when memory is not first hand but rather has been passed down through story telling or learned about through various media sources. Therefore, memory evolves into remembrance

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and over time into memorialisation and eventually into history. For example; at Ground Zero, remembrance of 9/11 is within the realms of first-generation memory. Meanwhile, at Auschwitz-Birkenau where the Holocaust is becoming chronologically distant, memory is third-generation or even fourth for many visitors. Hence, memorialisation of the Holocaust occurs by maintaining Auschwitz-Birkenau as a tourist site/museum as well as formally constructing memorials at the location and elsewhere. (Stone P. R., 2012) Therefore, in theory, the Zone would be going through the transition between first generation and second generation memory, but one would argue that Chernobyl doesn’t necessarily fit into the same constraints as 9/11 or the Holocaust. Aside from the similarities of loss and grief for families and populations affected, there is no real end to the suffering of the victims or survivors of Chernobyl. Some victims were not even alive when the accident happened. Health effects suffered by the survivors will be passed down through generations. It is an event that lives on in the people affected and in the environment poisoned by the accident. - Dark tourism as Moral Instruction Dark tourism either strategically deploys taboo subjects and commercially exploits macabre and tragic events, or offers memorialised narratives that connect the living with the dead. Dark tourism sites are contemporary “cultural spaces that act as receptacles of ‘highly charged’ ideas and representations.” (Stone P. R., 2012) Cultural interplay is encouraged and sanctioned within dark tourism by the tourist who, depending on their own social norms create the ethical conduct of the site. With embodied and engaged tourists, dark tourism offers an emancipatory place for reassessment and personal reflection that allows for a reconfiguration of outlooks through interpretative strategies. (Stone 2012) For example at the WTC Visitor Centre at Ground Zero, moral narratives are provided to generate ideas of hope, tolerance and peace. At Auschwitz-Birkenau the poetic presentation of artefacts and remains provides a deeper, more critically alert awareness of not only the events at Auschwitz-Birkenau but of the Holocaust itself. Furthermore, an understanding that such horrendous events must never occur again is provided. It is through this experience of how things were and how things are now that psychosocial moral connections can be made by dark tourism experiences, “moments from history are illuminated for the present day and, in turn, cast light on otherwise unseen [moments of] mortality.” (Stone 2009)

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Dark tourism experiences, albeit to varying levels of intensity and at various sites, can engender a degree of thanatopsis and ontology, where visitors may reflect on dark tourism and contemplate both life and death. (Stone 2012) However, the motivation for the consumption dark tourism is not to experience death per se. Rather, the potential of dark tourism experiences revolves around mortality narratives and education, entertainment, memorialisation and moral instruction. The psychological attributes of dark tourism have been linked to Stone’s adaptation of Foucault’s six key principles of heterotopias within dark tourism and applied to the Zone. In so doing, the heterotopian principles have been correlated with the touristification of the Zone and, consequently, illustrate how a site of catastrophe can be consumed within the contemporary visitor economy. (Stone P. , 2013) The Zone is an Other place. It exists alongside ordinary spaces, it is a place where disaster has been captured and suspended. It is a place of crisis, of deviation, of serious reflection. It is reflective of the society in which we exist. A surreal place to juxtapose our apocalyptic nightmares, the Zone is both real and imagined. The Zone is a heterotopia that allows the tourist to wonder within a post-apocalyptic world. (Stone P. , 2013)

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Chronological distances Fifth generation

The WWI battle fields of Gallipoli, Turkey. Also known as ANZAC Cove. Now a memorial.

Third/fourth generation

Auschwitz - Birkenau, Poland. WWII concentration camp. Now a museum.

First/second generation

Choeung Ek Killing Fields, Cambodia. Site of genocide. Now a museum.

First/second generation (coninued effects)

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Nuclear disaster.

First generation

9/11 Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Centre. Terrorist attack. Now a memorial and museum.

First generation (coninued effects)

Fukushima Exclusion Zone, Japan. Tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster.

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20 10 9

8

13

18

12

Popular Dark Tourist attractions

1. The Museum of Genocide Victims, Vilnius, Lithuania

6. Hiroshima, Japan

2. Karosta Naval Port Prison, Liepaja, Latvia

7. Nagasaki, Japan

3. Vaivara Camp, Northeast Estonia

8. Ground Zero, New York, USA

4. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland

9. Princess Diana Route, Alma Tunnel, Paris, France

5. Chernobyl, Ukraine

10. Soham Murders, England

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3 2 1 5

4 11

7

6

15

17 14

19

16

11. Hitler’s Mountain Residence, Berchtesgaden, Germany

16. Squatter Camp, Soweto, South Africa

12. Favelas, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

17. Tuol Sleng & Cheoung EK, Cambodia

13. Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, USA

18. The Sixth Floor Museum, Dallas, Texas, USA

14. 2004 Tsunami , Thailand

19. Kigali Genocide Memorial, Rwanda

15. Dharawi Slum, Mumbai, India

20. The Peace Wall, Belfast, Northern Ireland

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“It could be argued that we have always held a fascination with death, whether our own or others, through a combination of respect and reverence or morbid curiosity and superstition. However, it is (western) society’s apparent contemporary fascination with death, real or fictional, media inspired or otherwise, that is seemingly driving the dark tourism phenomenon.” (Stone 2006)


Tourism in the Zone In 1979, Andrei Tarkovsky released his critically acclaimed film Stalker, in which a professional tour guide — the Stalker — takes two travellers on a spiritual journey into a forbidden zone in search of a mysterious room that can grant one’s deepest wish. Based on the 1972 novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Tarkovsky’s Stalker uses cinematic imagination to transform a ghostly-beautiful rural landscape with an industrial topography into a science fiction terrain of a restricted hazardous zone. The film has come to be seen as prophetic of the Chernobyl disaster (Coulthart, 2006) The film provides a surreal popular culture narrative in which the real Zone can be experienced, which will be addressed in the following pages. Consequently, the tales for the Zone and its dead zone have become entrenched in popular culture. S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl and S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat, or the horror mutant movie Chernobyl Diaries depicting ‘extreme tourism’ to the exclusion zone (Parker, 2012), or fiction novels such as the thriller Chernobyl Murders (Beres, 2008). These combine to provide meta-narratives which the contemporary tourist to the Zone then consumes; industrial ruins, environmental contamination and political decay. (Stone P. R., 2012) An increasing number of internet blogs and online photographic galleries dedicated to Chernobyl and Pripyat create a demand for ‘toxic holidays’. In 2011, 25 years after the accident, the Ukraine government officially sanctioned tourism to the exclusion zone. (RT, 2011) Of course, tourism to the Zone may have more to do with the economic impacts of the disaster, than showcasing the Zone’s ‘dark history’. As six percent of the national budget of Ukraine is currently devoted to Chernobyl-related benefits and programmes, there is a political desire to return some of the polluted land back into ‘productive’ use in a new manner. (Choi, 2011) Thousands of people have undertaken illegal trips or tours into the Zone over the past decade. (Bennetts, 2011) Sadly, in the earlier days, some of these visitors came with a desire to loot the Zone of anything valuable, others to poach wildlife and timber. However, in later years it was more about the adventure, the excitement, the danger, of entering the forbidden. This strain of youth sub-culture (known as real life stalkers for the purpose of this thesis) has grown in popularity especially in Kiev and surrounding areas. Individuals and groups still enter the Zone illegally. This group of explorers is an important part of the network of the Zone which will be explored further in this thesis.

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With the licensing of tours by the Ukrainian authorities, tourists have approved access to the Zone, complete with a ‘Stalker’ guide. This legalisation has opened the doors to a large audience, and subsequently has seen a substantial increase in activity within the Zone, with over 10,000 tourists annually visiting the Zone (Chernobyl Tours guide). Numbers are expected to continue to rise. There are very few measures employed to guard tourists against radiation. Travellers are regularly informed that a day in the Zone would give an exposure dose less than the flight taken to get to Kiev. However, visitors still have to sign a disclaimer that the Ukrainian Government will not be liable for possible deterioration of visitors’ health because of their trip. The message is ‘it’s safe, but don’t blame us if you get cancer’ (Lyons, 2011). This, and the military style checkpoints, serve as perhaps the most obvious indicator that the tourist is about to enter the Zone, a petrified ruin on an unprecedented scale that invites an altogether different contemplation of not only spoiled landscapes, but also of humans’ technological mishaps and even, perhaps, of the destruction of civilisation itself. (Dobraszczyk, 2010) Tourists gaze on the formerly forbidden zone where the normative, rather than being erased, is modified, where the norms of ordinary life are under suspension. Thus, it is here where the ‘Other place’ of the Zone is both witnessed and consumed, that dark tourism and heterotopogy collide.

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The Stalker rail cart


Stalker - The movie “We need the excuse of a fiction to state what we truly are” (Zizek, 2014). Stalker is a film about a ‘zone’, a prohibited space where there are debris remainders of aliens visiting us. The word ‘stalker’ in the movie derives from the original English meaning (in the sense of a deer stalker) i.e. someone who approaches furtively, a pathfinder or guide. In the film, stalkers are people who specialise in smuggling in foreigners who want to visit this space, where there are many magical objects. The main attraction is the room in the middle of this space, where it is claimed your desires will be realised. A place where your deepest desires, will be granted on the condition that you are able to formulate them. Which, of course, you never are. This why everybody fails once they get to the centre of that zone. The story is essentially a procession from the profanity of life to a philosophical place of self-reflection, represented by the surreal room. There are three main characters: a stalker (the guide), a scientist, and a writer. Only by following the route taken by the stalker can the men make it through the forbidden landscape to the room (the soul). The movie is set in a landscape of beauty and ruins that tells a narrative with unprecedented parallels to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The journey through the zone revealed by the stalker highlights the notions of semiotics and mnemonics as they play a role in an environmental movement. The stalker believes that it is not the straightforward path that will lead to the discovery of the room, but the path that will allow the site to tell its story; in fact this becomes the metaphor for life. The story is of the plight of extreme capitalism and technology, represented by ruins and a place similar to the Zone at Chernobyl, a site of nuclear disaster. Through the landscape the characters learn of a utopian promise and its betrayal. The film depicts a narrative of failed social and political responsibility that is highlighted through the characters’ interactions with ruins within the landscape, ruins which are juxtaposed with the landscape’s natural beauty. Stalker is based on the book Roadside Picnic, in which Arkady and Boris Strugatsky describe the landscape: “the flowers are in bloom, but they no longer have any fragrance.” Stalker highlights how a landscape full of ruin and beauty can be used to tell a tale of society, self and place. This is the type of potential that the Zone possesses.

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Through its cinematography Stalker introduces viewers to the phenomena of ruins and natural beauty in a way that helps to highlight their significance in a larger narrative. The way the film is shot we can feel the density of time. The artefacts we see throughout the film are further markers of time. Tarkovsky treats the stalker in the same way, his face tells a tale of somebody exposed to too much radiation. It is this disintegration of the material texture of reality which provides the metaphysical depth. “Tarkovsky affects the viewer at a level which is much deeper, much more crucial for our experience than all the standard spiritual metaphoric motives designed to elevate one above material reality.” (Zizek, 2014) There is nothing specific about this zone. It is purely a place where a certain limit is set. In setting a limit, although one’s surroundings remain objectively unchanged, one chooses to view part of one’s surroundings as an Other place, or heterotopia, onto which individual beliefs and fears, from one’s unconscious, can be projected.

The room Incorporation

Surreal room -Provoking thought

Reoccuring river Procession & liminal movement

Valley

Reoccuring railtracks Reoccuring railtracks

+

++

+

+

Forest border

Remnants in a field Threshold -Entry to the zone Natural encounter - Peace & Beauty

Change of vehicle -transition

Separation

Bar -meeting point

Ruined warehouse

Ruined factory/ power plant

House - Begining

Prolepsis

Liminal movement

Exploring the procession of Stalker and how this leads to a point of incorporation and a subsequent epiphany 89

Epiphany


Passing throght the threshold into the zone

Navigating the zone

At the threshold to ‘the room’ 90


Incorporation

+

The room

Surreal room

Natural encounter Transition

+ Ruined power plant Remnants

+

Separation

+

Natural encounter

Ruined military area/radar

+

Threshold

Transition

+

Bar/point of departure

Separation

Exploring the procession of Stalker in the Zone

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`Sex, drugs, and radiation´


“My grandfather fought the fire in the Zone for a month... He would not be happy if he knew I was going. He was there against his will. I go because I want to. It would be unimaginable to him.� - Chris Bairstow: The Babushkas of Chernobyl


“For the ‘post-apocalyptic romantics’ who sneak into the Exclusion Zone, a visit to Pripyat has become the Holy Grail.” - Holly Morris (2014)

Real life stalkers camping in an abandoned barn

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Real life stalkers The film Stalker now lends its name to a small subculture of (mostly) Ukrainians, who have been drawn to the Zone; defying government restriction and entering the Zone illegally - for fun. This subculture is mostly made up of the first generation of Ukrainians born after the Chernobyl tragedy. This group has evolved from the stalkers of old who considered the area somewhere they could hide. They were mostly criminals escaping police, stealing anything of value. Now the interest in the Zone seems to be that of adventure of being there and seeing something different. (Hjelmgaard, 2016) Within the stalker subculture there are two main categories. The first could be described as the curious gamer, the ones who have played the computer games set in the Zone, and have come to explore the area in real-life. Often one trip is enough for them. Second is the ideologist, the ones who are highly prepared and often spend days, sometimes up to a week, in the Zone. These stalkers treat the Zone as sacred ground, taking nothing from the Zone and leaving nothing in the Zone. Many stalkers have a pre-existing connection to the Zone. For some, their parents or grandparents lived in the Zone before the accident. Others had relatives who were liquidators, brought to the Zone during the clean-up. The community of stalkers has grown significantly, although the real numbers are impossible to trace owing to the illegality of the activity. Some reports say that Exclusion Zone guards escort up to 300 illegal occupants out of the Zone a year. (Hjelmgaard, 2016) That is just the number of people that get caught; therefore, the number of illegal entries must be higher. There are bragging rights within the community, an essence of status. There are stalkers who eat the radioactive produce from the Zone and drink the water from the highly polluted waterways; they like to think of themselves as ‘true’ stalkers. They are either unconcerned or uneducated about the dangers of consuming radioactive nuclides. “I drink water in the Zone, eat apples, and everything is good for me. No second head” – stalker. (Morris H. , 2014) Although ‘genuine’ stalkers detest tourism within the Zone, the subculture does not differ much from that of the dark tourist. Both enter the Zone seeking the same adventure, asking the same questions, and attempting to understand the same answers. In effect dark tourism enthusiasts are a less extreme version of stalkers; they are the people who pay the stalkers to take them into the Zone.

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“We’re not saying radiation is good for animals, but human habitation and exploitation of landscape is worse.” - Professor Jim Smith (Oliphant, 2015)

Ecology The Zone has frequently been represented as a nuclear ‘dead zone’ incapable of supporting life. Yet the Zone is in contrast to that. While human life has been banished from this zone, the space left behind is far from lifeless. (BurrowGoldhahn, 2008) The creation of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone has created an unintended nature reserve, in which wildlife is protected from humans’ destructive presence. (Mycio, 2005) The Radiation has had a damaging effect on organisms in the Zone, such as in a decrease in decomposing organisms and slight abnormalities in plant and animal life, including deformations in local Barn Swallow populations. (Mousseau, Milinevsky, Kenney-Hunt, & Møller, 2014) Further research is needed as some debate continues in the scientific community over the long-term effects of radionulicdes on the natural environment. As stated earlier, the Zone is located in an area known as Polesia which runs from Eastern Poland, through Belarus and Ukraine to Russia making it one of the largest forest and marshland networks in Europe. The landscape was changed dramatically during the early 1900s in a period known as the ‘land improvement’ era, where large forests were cut down and waterways were channelled in an attempt to make that land more productive for farming. More intensive changes to the landscape came during the construction of the power plant and the surrounding infrastructure such as the gigantic cooling pond and the city of Pripyat. (Rosenberg, 2006) Today the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone provides a rare opportunity to witness first-hand what becomes of human space when emptied of its population, what becomes of the city, the village, the street and the field. The natural world is vigorously reclaiming the spaces shaped by human habitation and activity. Wild species of plants and animals are progressively occupying the empty spaces, filling in the gaps and voids in a landscape once dominated by civilisation and cultivation. Without humans, nature is permitted to inhabit space freely without restriction. The former town of Pripyat today is going through a transformation, and at this point it is an amalgam of architecture and forest. As Olsson said, “high buildings could be seen behind the curtain of trees. Concrete, brick, steel, tarmac, and

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splintered glass amidst fern, willow, pine, apple trees, vine.” The plants are infiltrating, growing denser and higher as the buildings begin to disintegrate. Many have felt that the modern town of Pripyat “was coming to resemble one of those fabled lost cities, devoured by jungle.” (Garcia, 2012) (Mycio, 2005) (Burrow-Goldhahn, 2008) Outside of Pripyat this re-conquering of human habitat by wildlife is particularly visible. Here, wildlife has almost obliterated and erased these small villages and farmland, engulfing cottages, destroying doors, walls, windows, roofs. In these villages, the distinction between man-made and nature is hard to detect. (Burrow-Goldhahn, 2008) These overgrown and disintegrating settlements highlight the constructed and artificial nature of our urban and domestic environments. A lot of effort goes into maintaining a city or a house. It is a constant process. Unlike domestic animals and the tamed nature of designed parks and gardens, “wild species do not respect normative patterns of urban order established to keep wilderness at bay.” (Edensor, 2005) It is a constant battle to establish and re-establish borders to keep wilderness in order. Without human inhabitation, architecture is invaded and eventually subsides. Doron (2000) has described these landscapes as “landscapes of transgression” where urban landscapes have been populated and redefined by wild species of plants and animals. In Chernobyl wilderness redeemed control. Once an icon of a utopian electrical future of modern architecture, cultivated and designed landscape is being deconstructed and decomposed by transgressive, living forces that are distinctly non-human. This emptied space has become a heterotopic terra nullius. (Burrow-Goldhahn, 2008) Traditionally terra nullius was virgin land untouched and unadulterated by the hand of man. (Kaus, 1992) In the Zone, land touched and polluted by human hands has been abandoned and is being reclaimed by natural forces that are returning it to a state of ‘untouched’ and ‘untouchable’ wilderness. (BurrowGoldhahn, 2008) The Zone has gone past the dimensions of cultivated wilderness. Nature has adapted extremely well to this state. The phenomenon of nature filling emptied space is not unique to Chernobyl and has been written about in urban theories. Doron and Edensor have suggested the presence of nature invalidates describing these places as empty, “it seems particularly inappropriate to identify ruins as dead spaces … devoid of value, purpose and life.” (Edensor, 2005) “Contrary to the myths and imagery, Chernobyl’s lands had become a unique, new ecosystem… Defying the gloomiest predictions, it had come back to life as

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Europe’s largest nature sanctuary, teeming with wildlife. Like the forests, fields, and swamps of their unexpectedly inviting habitat, the animals are all radioactive. To the astonishment of just about everyone, they are also thriving.” (Mycio, 2005) Within the Zone radiation has become a “state of being” (Mycio, 2005). Radioactive nuclides have entered the soil and the food chain, resulting in the land and its occupants becoming radioactive. The ecological regeneration in the Zone exhibits nature’s resilient power and humans’ destructive influence.

Nature engulfing an abandoned home 99


Polesia Forest River Lake Border

Radioactive contamination Highly Contaminated Contaminated 0

50

100km 100


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Design theory - Curating an experience “... sometimes the exhibition flows through a variety of spaces; the spectator has to follow signs, clues to find each element. As the visitors move around the museum, they have to question what is the set, what is exhibit, what is prop, museum artefact, who is spectator, who is performer?” (Crawley, 2012) Curating is a term that refers to the selection, organisation and presentation of objects. The term is being used in this thesis in the sense of presenting and accessing objects but also in the sense of generating a sequential story through particular organisation and presentation. Although the term is commonly associated with museums, this thesis argues that it can also be applied to landscape architecture. An important component of the design investigation is the ‘Touist Zone’. This involves curation of the site to allow visitors to experience the iconic areas with minimal impact on the larger area. Curation is crucial in the success of narrative constructs within the museum context; it works by arranging objects and artefacts specifically to convey a story. Curator Rachel Morris (2012) has stated that, “the way in which museums choose to shape and categorise … can have a great poetic power and resonance over our imagination.” Curating itself is an art form that can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. (Dobson, 2014) Whether it is being used in relation to museums, theatre design or architecture, curation, according to spatial design lecturer Greer Crawley, is concerned with “the transformation of space, and the communication of information while manipulating the emotional response of spectators-occupants” (Crawley, 2012). Through the work of the curator, viewers will be made aware of an element’s importance within a narrative setting, even if it would appear as ‘ordinary’ in a non-curated setting. (Crawley, 2012) It is important to understand how a number of objects can add to a general feeling or consensus about objects or ‘place’ through the use of curation. In museums, the act of curating is as much about the objects as it is about the sum of their parts. This can be achieved by using the Stalker narrative explained earlier; what is depicted in the film is a path-like exhibition space. This path generates a line of narrative that presents the artefacts of the Zone.

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Where, what and how objects are articulated, play a crucial role in how users will react to the objects and assess their importance, and how they will recognise the story that those objects tell. The sequential structure basically creates a narrative that allows a series of events to form a meaningful pattern. (Skolnick, 2012) Curators within museums and galleries find that the strategic articulation of pathway and pause is crucial to the articulation of narrative. - Pathway – Pause A pathway is capable of conveying narrative. It can place users in the perfect place at the perfect time and allow them to construct a narrative through a clear procession through space. The compelling narrative capacity of a pathway has been recognised in the book Sensory Design by Malnar and Vodvarka (2004). Pathways allow a person to feel directional and safe while simultaneously feeling like a discoverer and a decoder. An inherent element in the walking of a path is the understanding of the story that that path tells. Sensory Design introduces four ways that people can interact with their surroundings and move along a path. ti'JSTUMZ BDUJWFTFOTPSZQFSDFQUJPOT JOXIJDILJOBFTUIFUJDBOEWJTVBMFYQFSJFODF are most instrumental in forming a net of references that provide the basis for our reactions to objects in space t 4FDPOEMZ  UIF GPSNBUJPO PG DPHOJUJWF NBQT  XIJDI DPEF QSPYJNJUZ  EJTUBODF  order and sequence, and connectedness/paths, as well as locational visualisation t ćJSEMZ  JEFOUJUZ  TUSVDUVSF  BOE NFBOJOH  XIJDI SFTVMU JO BO FOUJUZ CFJOH “imaginable,” and the correlated concept of object space, where sequences of use, perception, and meaning are superimposed on a fixed spatial sequence t'PVSUIMZ UIFEFTJSBCJMJUZPGUIFPCKFDUJWF PVSNPUJWBUJPOUPQBZBUUFOUJPOUPUIF spatial information at our disposal.” (Malnar, 2004) Human instinct facilitates a desire for adventure, discovery, and a willingness to decipher the environment and its various aspects. (Dobson, 2014) That, in turn, aids the connections between a pathway, a participant, and the environment. A designed/curated pathway also allows for a sequential narrative to be established at a range of scales. This is imperative for a site like the Zone where the various phenomena are widely dispersed.

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- Pause The concept of pause is essential to the concept of the Zone as a heterotopia. Caspar David Friedrich’s painting Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818) highlights the wonders of the wilderness when witnessed from a position of pause at high elevation. This painting provokes its viewers to consider the mind-set of the subject and to somehow connect with that person’s experience, thus connecting to their own sense in ‘pause’. Places of reflection are heterotopias, where the user is in a state of ‘otherness.’ These places are important in the experience of the Zone, they allow the user to connect to events of the site and reflect upon their own realities while physically within another reality. According to environmental psychologist Sally Augustine, we regularly need to be alone “so that we can mull over what’s happened to us recently and integrate all of our new memories with all of our existing memories” (2009). Augustine believes this helps us craft a plan to move forward with our lives, “incorporating the new knowledge and feelings toward life, places and ourselves” (2009). This is important when considering the narrative and physical design of a route and interventions along it. In order to allow an idea to sink in and a potential epiphany to occur these points of pause are essential to the success of the design. Intertwined with the romanticism of pause within the landscape is the pragmatic need to facilitate reflective places to allow people to stop and consider the sum total of the places that they have experienced and provide time to ponder the places that they may discover in the future. Places of reflection allow people to digest the experience and allow the meaning and power of the place to sink in. In other words, such places allow for parts of a journey to be consolidated in the user’s mind and considered before the journey continues. - Narrative & procession “The transition from one stage to the next, or from the profane to the sacred, is so great that there must be an intermediate stage – the liminal stage” (Zimmerman, 2005) The word liminal comes from the Latin word lemins, which means threshold. The Liminal Space lies between the known and the unknown – it is a transitional space experienced when a threshold has been crossed. (Turner, 1967) A route or path can be interpreted as a liminal space between points of either natural or man-made phenomena. By providing connections, the liminal space will

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allow the design of the route to be more directed at affecting and connecting the tourist and certain points of the journey. This will in turn help to identify stages of procession for the tourist on the journey. A landscape can be explained as the place that is between places, but one which has its own sense of place. While the places themselves are capable of connecting people to the area it is the journey through the landscape that reveals the narrative of the area as a whole. Therefore, the design for the Zone could use Arnold van Gennep’s journey-based ideas to ensure the inbetween nature of the connections. Van Gennep’s procession theories are about rites of passage which transcend the profane leading to the sacred. He believed a rite of passage, which starts with a point of separation from profanity or the mundane and passes through a liminal dimension to a place of incorporation, is capable of generating a greater sense of connection to the area. A route that creates a connection to place through the incorporation of procession and a narrative will enliven the area and give greater meaning to the cultural remnants of the Zone. The Zone has a number of iconic features that can be deemed points of interest. These features can be used as points of pause and points of reflection and incorporation. One such feature is the Duga-1 Radar. The radar could be used as a point for pause, reflection and incorporation because of its immense awe-inspiring structure. Accessing the top of this monumental structure would provide a sublime experience. The view from the top over the landscape would produce an inherent ability to make tangible connections to place and inspire intangible associations with the area; such associations are key aspects of stopping points in narratives outlined in van Gennep’s theory. Allowing for a stronger and more profound connection to place and understanding of narrative. Journeys or processions to places such as the Zone can bring out a side of human nature, previously explained in this thesis. In graduate architect Patrick Zimmerman’s thesis Liminal Space in Architecture: Threshold and Transition when writing about the lead up to a baseball park, Zimmerman points out that there needs to be a stage between the profanity of the streets and the spirituality or philosophy of the ballpark (2005). According to Zimmerman this stage represents liminality, a transitional phase in a rite of passage. In 1963 anthropologist Victor Turner began to build upon van Gennep’s theories about rites of passage and liminality. A particularly interesting advancement that Turner made was the use of the term ‘liminal movement’.

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Liminal movement as described by architect Frank Koetter: “The realm of conscious and unconscious speculation and questioning – the Zone where things concrete and ideas are intermingled, taken apart and reassembled – where memory, values, and intentions collide. It is a space which is essentially ambiguous and is, by definition temporary; transitional space between fixed and constants.” (Koetter, 1980) The liminal movement, as a procession of sorts, is a temporal transition through a multi-sensory experience. It plays an important part in the theory underpinning this thesis because it reinforces that people can generate a greater connection to place by meandering through an environment. The architectural design of the landscape can enhance the act of meandering, by providing a layer of navigational elements which can lead but do not dictate an individual’s decisions. Koetter’s concept of liminal movement is similar to elements of ethnographer Arnold van Gennep’s theory: separation, liminality and incorporation. (van Gennep, 1960) The separation element of van Gennep’s theory refers to a transitional threshold or area which is a “transitional space... allowing both the performing subject as well as the spectator to pass from ‘here’ to ‘elsewhere’.” (Crawley, 2012). Van Gennep’s theory provides insight as to how the design for the research site can take visitors away from a generic tour of a dark tourism site and provide them with an experience that allows them to develop deeper feelings about a place and a connection to place. (Stone P. , 2013) Both procession and the theories of liminal movement within a rite of passage are important concepts in the design of the Zone. The ideas of procession and liminal movement will not only help to structure the design but they will also offer essential insight into how a design can generate a deeper connection to an area. The theory outlines how the connection can be achieved by incorporating into the design various opportunities that will change the emotional state of the user and increase the ‘place connection’ potential of the area. - Epiphanies or (Revelations) In the book Museum Making: Narratives, Architecture, Exhibitions by MacLeod et al, an epiphany is described as “a sudden, intuitive perception of insight into the reality or essential meaning of something. It is a point where past experiences come together” (Macleod, 2012). It is also described as “the manifestation of a hidden message for the benefit of others” (Macleod, 2012).

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At any point along the journey through the Zone epiphanies can occur when the tourist experiences a sense of ‘incorporation’ into the overall journey and into the environment that surrounds them. Both designers and design have the ability to evoke and communicate ideas that are deeper than the immediate associations that we generally take at face value. When a narrative builds on tangible and intangible experiences and phenomena, such as the transcendence through landscapes or interventions that encourage reflection, there is the potential for an epiphany to occur. Epiphany is “the transcendence of narrative into embodiment” (Macleod, Hanks, & Hale, 2012) a moment of understanding. This is the ultimate human response toward which landscape architecture can aspire, a single moment when someone takes the sum of the design and context in which it sits and understands something more powerful about ‘place’ (Macleod, 2012). An emerging question posed in Museum Making: Narratives, Architecture, Exhibitions is whether to design for a moment of epiphany, for a top-down approach or for an unknown outcome that simply results from various parts and design techniques, which could be called the bottom-up approach. (Macleod, 2012) The bottom-up approach allows for a more site-specific outcome, giving the place authenticity. In the design of the Zone the existing narrative will be used and enhanced to lead people to a point of epiphany where their personal reflection on the Zone can become conscious. - Environmental movement: Semiotics and Mnemonics Humans can become the masters of their own experience through their own subconscious curation of images and the meanings that those images are intended to portray. If we look at images and how people decipher them then we can clearly see how we might generate a stronger narrative along a path. A narrative experience is a dual performance, between the performer and the spectator. (Harvey, 2006) The landscape is not only the stage on which this performance and experience takes place but it is also an active participant itself. (Harvey, 2006) Cultural remnants that lie on the stage are also active performers in the spectator’s assessment of experience and we compare them against the landscape as being the ultimate performers. The landscape contextualises (through time and space) the cultural remnants that sit dormant on land but are animated in our minds. Serial images are what we gather, rearrange and add imagination to, to construct the basis of the narrative. The more similarities between images that coexist in our mind, the more simplified and consolidated

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the ideas and associations become. (Quantrill, 1986) Therefore, it is considered that the layering of visually connectable elements along a path will produce a narrative based on what people personally associate with important points within the landscape. (Quantrill, 1986) The basis of this concept is Quantrill’s notion of environmental imagery/memory that explores semiotics and how these visually connected elements facilitate mnemonic memory or association. Urban planner Kevin Lynch wrote about cities saying “every scene is instantly recognisable, and brings to mind a flood of associations. Part fits into part. The visual environment becomes an integral piece of its inhabitants’ lives” (1960). This statement highlights the power of mnemonic memory and the idea that what a person sees is a part of the process for generating narrative and in turn contributes to a sense of place. (Dobson, 2014) Narrative is composed of both remembrance and anticipation and is based around semiotics facilitating mnemonics. Semiotics refers to the deciphering of images, signs and symbols and the storage and retrieval of them. (Boyer, 2003) Mnemonics refers to how we use memory to associate past experiences with current experiences to gauge understandings, feelings and actions. Movement through a place makes the user automatically a spectator who then subconsciously uses these two tools to understand their environment.

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The sublime Deeply ingrained in both the heterotopian and dark tourism theories, is an attraction or drawing theme, that compels people to visit such places as the Zone; this is the theme of the sublime and one’s response to an experience of the sublime. That awe inducing response one receives when exposed to an encapsulating yet incomprehensible scene, described by Ray (2005) as striking us with ‘a hit’ or something that gives us a shudder. (Adorno) Although a full critique of sublime theory is out of the scope of this thesis, as the final section of the theory chapter, this thesis will briefly consider ‘post-modern’ sublime theory. (Goatcher) The post-modern sublime as discussed by Adorno in his book Aesthetic Theory (1997) combines fear in the face of the infinite or incomprehensible, with a transcendence of that fear. (Goatcher) According to the dictionary; sublime producing an overwhelming sense of awe or other high emotion through being vast or grand. (Oxford) Faced with something that overwhelms or even destroys their sense of self, people are able to simultaneously strengthen that sense of self, by testing it against such visions. Adorno discusses the sublime in connection with the unimaginable horror of the holocaust (1973). The only acceptable response to something that so far exceeds the conventional representation is, silence. This would suggest that a negative or sublime approach to representation is the only valid and ethical response to Auschwitz. This is not because it is an intellectual or moral response in itself, but because what is absent is all we can comprehend of the ungraspable horror we have unleashed upon ourselves. Thus, it is assumed that Chernobyl can be seen as a sublime disaster - it shows us how our senses have been made useless by the technology that we hoped would free us from natural necessity, but then gives us some hints, or directions in which to search for another type of comprehension. Therefore, the only acceptable response is either a negative or a sublime one. Experiences of the sublime can leave us with a mixture of pleasure and terror; these sensations happen throughout the Zone, as the procession of the journey curates semiotic landmarks that tell the tale of the devastation the accident had on the area, a sense of pleasurable excitement turned into a sense of being overwhelmed. Tourists’ experience is enhanced by mnemonic design interventions allowing for pause, where they can begin the process of comprehension, between their experience and the disenfranchisement of their senses. The desired result is an

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epiphany or shock of understanding. - Summary of theory The potential success of the touristification of the Zone lies in the design’s ability to curate experiences that result in a connection to the heterotopic ‘Other place’. By understanding the users of the site and utilising the power of curating and experience, pathway and pause, procession, semiotics and mnemonics, ruins, phenomenology, and the sublime, connections can be made to ‘Other place’. The design will use a designated route and its surrounding interventions to test how these design theories can most effectively be put to use. The objectives for the area can be achieved through the understanding of how people read and understand their passage through space and how it is possible to curate ruins/ artefacts and design sensory architecture in the Zone to increase the potency of narrative. The theories also provide ways for building on the existing features of the landscape and highlighting the historical context. The area can be experienced and understood by present and future generations through effective connections to the narrative. When a valuable curated experience connects the tourist with the existing sublime atmosphere of the Zone, they experience a living breathing monument to, not only the catastrophe of the Chernobyl disaster and the perils of nuclear technology but to the resilience of nature.

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Spatially exploring the design theory concepts in the Zone

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Map of the caesium-137 contamination level in the Zone. This map clearly indicates the direction of the winds after the explosion

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Actor network Understanding who uses the Zone, how they use it and what they use it for is an important step in the development of the design process. Four key actors have been outlined as; Stalkers (people entering the Zone illegally), guards, tourists, and nature. Three of the four actors have been described in detail earlier in this thesis, the guards however have not. The term guards has been used in a general term. Covering the border control, policemen, patrolling guards and fire watch officers. They are the protectors of the Zone from illegal activities and devastating wild fires. Their job is a difficult one, the Zone is extremely large and difficult to patrol and they are paid very poorly for their work. This has led to wide spread corruption. You can do almost anything in the Zone as long as you have enough money and pay the right people. This is hugely detrimental to the safety of people entering the Zone and to the ecosystem of the Zone. An improved infrastructure and centralising tourism activities could help centralise income, thus in turn having a positive effect on existing and future research projects within the Zone. In the following pages is a qualitative mapping investigation into the actor network of the Zone. By studying various sources and geo referencing photographs found online, a diagrammatic map has been developed for each actor, highlighting access points, points of interest, habitats, etc. From the actor network mappings a clear site has been highlighted. Within this area a more site specific investigation of the tourism movements in the Zone can be made. By using social media (Instagram) and geo referenced images from google earth, iconic structures and highlights of the Zone experience have been identified and mapped. This method has produced a general route and established a general theme covering what most people entering the Zone want to experience. The danger of radiation also seems to be an attraction, as images of readings on Geiger counters are very frequent. However, detailed and site specific mappings of radiation and contamination have been left out of this analysis as they vary considerably between sources, most likely due to the changeable nature of radiation. Levels fluctuate due to a number of reasons such as disruption by winds, animals and people. Therefore, it is assumed that an intensive mapping of radiation would be more applicable in the construction phase of this project and future research projects.

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Stalkers Needs: - Shelter

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- Minimal impact to the Zone

- Minimal walking distances

- Adventure

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Wants: - No illegal entries into the Zone

- Minimal impact

Notes: Unfortunately you can do almost anything, if you have enough money. Guards often take bribes.

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Tourists Needs: - Information

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Wants: - To see all the iconic sites

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- Self curated experience

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The tourist zone The aim is to facilitate the touristifaction of the Zone to maximise the experience while having minimal impact on the site as a whole. From the mapping of the actor network a site to produce specific tourist activities has been identified. Reducing the size of the tourist area and focusing on the most important features to tell the story of the Zone. This reduces the adverse affects tourism could have on the Zone and the other actors in the network.

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Arbeit macht frei - Work makes you free. The haunting iconic sign above the entry to Auschwitz 1

Hallway filled with confronting mugshots of some of the victims of the camp 138


Auschwitz - Birkenau The memorial and museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau is located on two sites of the original Nazi concentration and extermination camp; Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. Opened in 1947, the site has become the symbol of the Holocaust as well as other Nazi crimes. The Museum grounds cover 191 hectares, of which 20 are at Auschwitz I and 171 at Auschwitz II-Birkenau. These grounds include several hundred camp buildings and ruins, including the ruins of the gas chambers and crematoria, kilometers of camp fence, camp roads, and the railroad spur (“ramp”) at Birkenau. The site is one of the most visited dark tourism sites with over 1.5 million visits recorded in 2015. (Memorial and Museum - Auschwitz-Birkenau - Former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, 2015) The exhibition opened in 1955 remains one of the main elements in visits to the site, along with areas featuring original or partly reconstructed objects. Aside from documentary photographs, photocopies of documents, models, and sculptures, it also used historical exhibits including prisoner garments, bunks and other furnishings from prisoner rooms, and items seized from Jewish deportees. Auschwitz- Birkenau is an interesting case study in terms of designing for museums and sites associated with death and destruction. The Museum outlines appropriate behaviour and rules for visiting the site as well as guidelines for a suitable experience of the site: “In order to take in the grounds and exhibitions in a suitable way, visitors should set aside a minimum of about 90 minutes for the Auschwitz site and the same amount of time for Auschwitz II-Birkenau. It is essential to visit both parts of the camp, Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau, in order to acquire a proper sense of the place.” (Memorial and Museum - Auschwitz-Birkenau - Former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, 2015) Thought the site differs from the Zone, and the general concept behind the treatment of the Zone, concepts and frameworks can still be taken into account in the design investigations of this thesis.

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Park Kalkriese Opened in 2000 this museum park is built on the site of an ancient Roman and Germanic battle ground. It covers a range of approximately 20 ha. It was developed by Mike Guyer and Annette Gigon in cooperation with agency Zulauf Seippel Schweingruber. This is an very interesting design approach for a historical site. Neither the historic locale nor the event was architecturally reconstructed, instead a unique space for reflection was created. The use of a historically placed pathway connecting three pavilions, each offering a different experience is very interesting. These are known as the pavilion of watching, the pavilion of listening and the pavilion of asking. “The pavilion of watching does not show images of the battle, the pavilion of listening does not provide sounds from the past, the pavilion of asking does not offer any answers. These are places supposed to sharpen the visitors’ perception and invite them to address what happened here on the sensual level. Not knowledge, but the power of imagination is called for here. What happened in this place? What kind of sounds reverberated in this landscape? The Varus Battle belongs to the past – yet war does still exist. Why?” (The Park, 2005) With this visitors offered an exciting backdrop against which their own thoughts about the Varus battle can unfold. This is what this thesis design is trying to achieve in the Zone.

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Leading elements to one of the experience pavilions

Walkway with an archaeological soil map of the site

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Rest point along the path framing the landscape

Viewpoint offering a shift in perspective.

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Cultural Landscape Path Archiplan has installed a series of Corten steel, wood and concrete rest areas and information points along the banks of a river in Italy to enhance views of the surrounding countryside Situated in a wetland area created by the lower course of the river Mincio, the project was commissioned by the City of Virgilio to improve visitors’ experience of the area. The installations respond to significant cultural and historical landmarks along the four kilometre route, in a process of interpretation of historical and cultural environment. These interventions create landmarks that highlight and measure the pedestrian path. These project highlights the power that acupuncture style interventions have in framing moments or points of interest in the landscape along a pathway.

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Forgotten World Adventures Forgotten World Adventures, is a sightseeing railway that runs through a remote rural landscape in the North Island of New Zealand. The design utilises the abandoned rail lines, and artefacts along the tracks to highlight an important part of the pioneering history of New Zealand. The line travels approximately 144km, winding its way through the depths of valleys, through tunnels, over bridges and rivers, towards the pioneering townships of the early 1900s. This project highlights a way to reuse the existing track infrastructure in the power plant area, though the design of the rail cart would need to be more appropriate to the aesthetic of the Zone.

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Rail cart bikes

Motorised rail carts

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An early investigation into a style of intervention that responds to the concept of threshold and marking a pathway to be taken through Pripyat


An early investigation into a style of intervention that could stand as a mnemoic symbol throughout the site coming to a climax at in the centre of Pripyat

An early investigation into the use mnemonic symbols to mark specific pathways through Pripyat

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An early investigation into a different mnemonic shape

An early investigation into interventions that interact with the existing buildings and highlights their decay

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Later investigations into Pripyat thresholds, using trees in a grid system amongst wild growing planting indicating a path. The larger grid stands out more.

intersecting the grid with structures, although beautiful these addtions to the grid became overstated and would take away from the intended subtle approach.

Adding surface changes, the pathway without vertical structures is working here

Continued investigations, again considered to be a little overstated

The central image showing a pathway with schattered steel sheets is working

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Investigating a possible intervention in cooling tower 1. The large grid of trees was far to dominant and destroyed the quality of the space

A possible solution for the re use of the existing structure inside cooling tower 2

Investigating the placement of stairwells and viewing platforms in the Duga-1 radar

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Experiencing the Zone The design outcome draws upon the concepts and ideas that have been explored and discovered in theory, precedent studies and site analysis to test, challenge and resolve issues and potentials laid out earlier in this thesis. Tourism plays a vital role as the foundation for a much larger project in the Zone. Therefore, the final design aims to centralise tourism in the Zone, which allow for the spread of further knowledge of the issues facing the Zone, and provide important financial backing for further research and development into understanding radiation contamination, nuclear waste storage and other not yet identified subject fields. By facilitating the tourist experience with a curated route connecting key points of value, the design aims to highlight the Zone as the memorial itself. The experience begins at the territorial scale in Kiev. This is where the touist joins a bus traveling to the Exclusion Zone. One the bus an informational film is played outlining the details of the accident and the ruslting clean up. This builds the anticipation. This bus takes the tourist throught the first checkpoint of the 30km Exclusion Zone. The passports and offical documents are check here, this checkpoint is the main control point for the numbers entering the Exclusion Zone, thus limiting the maxium number of people who will be in the Zone at anyone time. The trip contuines on to Chernobyl, this is where the ‘Tourist Zone’ has been identified and the local scale of the design comes in.

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Local - The Tourist Zone The final design considers the procession map made from the plot line from Stalker as at the base for treatment of the tourist route. This was translated onto the site area given by the mapping exercise of the actor network. This is the local scale; created here is the tourist route which has been design to be experienced in one day. There is the possibility of extending the stay in Chernobyl which is the administrative hub of the Zone and offers both a basic hotel and hostel. Extended trips allow for a more in-depth interaction with the Zone, also the possibility of taking the train 60km East to Slavutych, the town built to replace Pripyat. Here the tourist can make comparisons between the two towns and gain a possible insight into what Pripyat could be like today if the accident never occurred. At the local scale, the journey through the site can be defined. This route connects four focus sites and has been designed to achieve the most complete experience of the Zone with minimal impact to the remaining area. The route allows for a self curated experience, giving the tourist time to reflect on their own very personal experience of the Zone. There is also the option of taking a guide from Chernobyl. The design allows for choice and these two tourist groups to experience the Zone in the manner they see fit. Each focus site plays a unique and vital role in the narrative. It is within these focus sites where acupuncture style interventions have been installed to enhance the procession and experiential qualities of the Zone. Interventions have been kept to a minimum as to keep the authenticity of the each site intact. Each intervention is designed integrate with the its surroundings and stand out from the existing structures creating a clear distinction between the existing and the new.

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Concept model, indicating the use of acupuncture design and the connection. Above are zoom in of the four focus sites 160


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Focus site 1: Chernobyl Chernobyl acts as the meeting point and the point of departure. Here the tourist changes vehicles from tourist bus to 4WD, thus reducing group sizes. The 4WD takes the tourist through the main threshold and into the 10km Exclusion Zone. Chernobyl is the existing administration hub of the Zone, and the design utilises this with all tourism situated here. The facilities include; the museum where the tourist can gain more in depth information of the Zone, accommodation for tourists who wish to spend more time in the Zone or take extended trips, and the development of future research centres.

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The main threshold; entering the 10km Exclusion Zone


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Focus site 2: Duga-1 Duga-1, the first stop after passing through the main threshold into the 10km Zone. Here the tourist experiences a relic of the Cold War. The experience has been heightened by the introduction of stairs and viewing platforms to the radar. Here the tourist can walk around underneath this incredible structure, taking in its dominance from this position. They can then start the climb to the viewing platforms. The three viewing platforms have been placed to offer different experiences of the radar as the tourist climbs. At the top the tourist is rewarded for their huge climb with 360 degree vistas over the Zone. From here the tourist has a confronting encounter with the scale of the disaster.

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Top viewing platform

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Bottom viewing platform amongst the structure of the radar


Top viewing viewing platform; a view over the Zone with the CNPP in the distance


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Focus site 3: Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant At the train station the tourist changes vehicles for the second time. The large power plant area can be explored by the use of a Stalker inspired rail cart on the existing rail tracks. From the tracks the tourist can travel right by the New Safety Confinement arch, through the turbine building of the four finished reactors, past the unfinished reactors 5 & 6 and their cooling towers, around the new ISF-2 nuclear storage facility, past the transmission fields and back to Yaniv Station and the 4WD. The tourist can stop at a number of rail cart stops along the way, to explore the areas on foot. Two experiential interventions have been placed in the unfinished cooling towers. In Cooling tower 1 a singular apple tree, the tree of Chernobyl, has been placed in the centre of the large circular structure. The existing concrete framework within cooling tower 2, which was closer to completion, has been utilised as a gantry walkway. These two interventions both use and stage the spatial qualities of these structures.

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Yaniv train station

The NSC arch

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Highlights of the rail experience

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View from the tracks of rail experience, heading towords the cooling towers with a view of the tops unfinished reactors 5 & 6 and the NSC arch


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Apple tree Cooling tower 1 CNPP Section BB - 1:750

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Inside cooling tower 1, cooling tower 2 in the background


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Inside cooling tower 2, understanding the scale


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Focus site 4: Pripyat The final destination of the Zone. Here the tourist is brought into the centre of town, the main square. From here the tourist embarks on a journey through Pripyat on foot. Their route is guided by a series of thresholds, which separate different areas of the town. These thresholds are trees in a strict grid structures which stand in contrast to the rogue planting left untouched for 30 years. Within the grid are steel panels laid on the ground indicating paths which lead the tourist through the threshold and stop, leaving the tourist to explore and create their own experience. The thresholds guide the tourist in a loop around the key elements highlighted in the Instagram and google earth investigation. The journey concludes at a viewpoint on top of a 16 story apartment building. Here the tourist is offered an overview of their journey.

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Threshold diagram. Showing how the tourist is visually guided through Pripyat

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Different threshold path treatments

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Entering the first threshold into the main square of pripyat


Passing throught a threshold into the amussment park


The final view of the over the Zone


Summary This thesis has covered significant ground: the initial tragic event and it consequences, the state of the site now and the current interventions (official and unofficial) by human beings on the site, the current state of tourism at the site, and design investigations on the possibilities and suitabilities of interventions, which would enable the tourist experience to be significantly improved and allow for a self-curated experience in which deep personal reflection and transformation can happen for each individual. It is important that the site be allowed to degrade in a natural way (as the buildings crumble and the vegetation and wild life takes over) but it is even more important that the tourist experience is maximised in a carefully controlled and limited way, not just for the protection of individuals but for the protection of the site. While the Zone does have some similarities to areas which have traditionally been memorialised, its particular characteristics make it significantly different from sites of memorialisation. The effects of the disaster are still not fully understood and perhaps, due to the secrecy of the political system in control at the time of the disaster, the full extents will never be known. Another issue is due to the chronological distance of the event, the physical aliments have affected a generation that did not experience the physical accident and will continue through more generations. Created is a typology of memorial which is specifically minimal in interventions. This thesis design does not aim to recreate or embody any historical representations of the accident. What is created is a unique platform for which to observe a snap shot of the Zone in a specific moment. The memorial will continue to change as the structures degrade and nature continues it’s reclamation. The shadowed void represents not only this reclamation but also the experience of an inner dark and deeply personal void within the tourist. The curation of the Zone allows for moments where the tourist can pause, reflect and understand these morbid experiences and thus project their own personal associations on to the Zone.

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Reflections This thesis has focused on tourism, as it was seen that tourism plays a vital role as the foundation for a much larger project in the Zone. By centralising and providing more advanced facilitation of tourism activities in the Zone, it is believed that tourism can provide better funding for better research facilities and due to the natural transformation and chronological issues related to the memorialisation of the Zone, the design process is by no means finished. Therefore, further development into providing a more holistic approach to the area is needed. On a personal note, this thesis arose initially form an early interest in not only Chernobyl itself but places associated with a darker aesthetic and developed further out of my own experience and reactions when visiting the site. This process has been an highly enjoyable one. I started with the intention of creating an experimental model making investigation into possible forms of memorial intervention, but that changed after the first site visit and during the first design conceptual sketches. The site was so strong on its own, and the idea of creating an installation style intervention did not feel right. This realisation coupled with the scale of the site is when I arrived to the concept that the site is the memorial itself. The chance to take an in-depth theoretical investigation, was highly interesting and I believe that it has significantly developed a deeper more appreciative understanding of the phenomenological and sociological aspects of architecture. It has also been a excellent opportunity to advance my technical skill set with some highly advanced 3D drawing and rendering, which I look forward to building upon and utilising lot more in my future professional career.

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Image references Note: All illustrations and images are product of the author unless otherwise stated below p. 6-7 - Reuters - untitled. Online image. 02/08/2016 p. 20 - Intelligence Systems Geo - Caesium-137 contamination of Ukraine. Online image- 31/07/2016 p. 23 top - The Red Forest in Chernobyl where dead trees do not decompose - Tim Mousseau. Online image. 02/08/2016 p. 23 bottom - Gerd Ludwig - Father and son. Online image. 02/08/2016 p. 40 - Anatoliy Besedin - Chernobyl river port photo 1946. Online image. 08/05/2016 p. 41 top - European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - Pripyat under construction. Online image. 31/07/2016 p.41 bottom - European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - Chernobyl being built. Online image. 31/07/2016 p.45 - Repik Vladimir - Chernobyl disaster. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 47 top - pripyat.com - May 1st celebrations in Pripyat. Online image 31/07/2016 p.47 bottom - Kansert - Evacuation of Pripyat. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 49 top - Igor Kostin - Liqudators. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 49 bottom - altasobsura - The sarcophagus. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 50-51 - Simon Buck - The Babushkas of Chernobyl. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 54-55 - Daniel Bejtrup & Dina Braendstrup - Contamination of Europe. Online image. 05/03/2016 p. 56 - Novarka - New Safe Confinement. Online image. 31/07/2016 p.57 - getty images - New Safety Confinement. Online Image. 31/07/2016 p. 64-65 - Reuters/Andrew Kravchenko - fighting fire in the zone. Online image. 02/08/2016 p. 79 top left - Michel Zacharz - Birkenau gate. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 79 top right - TheGastronomicTraveler - Gallipoli trenches. Online image. 31/07/2016p. 79 middle left p. 79 middle right - The Killing Fields Museum of Cambodia - Choeung Ek Killing Fields. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 79 bottom left - Arkadiusz Podniesinski - The Fukashima Wasteland. Online image 31/07/2016 p. 79 bottom right - MusikAnimal - The September 11 Memorial & Museum in Spring 2015. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 82-83 - Tourism in the zone - Gerd Ludwig. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 86-87 - Andrei Tarkovsky - Rail cart. Online Image. Open Culture. 31/07/2016. p. 90 top - Andrei Tarkovsky - Threshold. Online Image. Open Culture. 31/07/2016. p. 90 middle - Andrei Tarkovsky - Ruins. Online Image. The Film Emporium. 31/07/2016. p. 90 bottom - Andrei Tarkovsky - The room. Online Image. Frantic Films. 31/07/2016. p. 92-93 - Chris Bairstow - Stalker. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 94 - Anonymous: - The Babushkas of Chernobyl. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 99 - Simon Buck - A village in the Zone. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 114 - pripyat.com - Radiation in the Zone. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 126 top - @alinaonatii. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 126 middle top - @leandarkar. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 126 middle bottom - @ontheroadjon. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 126 bottom - @sareth08. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 128 top - @ricardo_nanulaitta. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 128 middle top - @petrhorak. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 128 middle bottom - @inmyheaven. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 128 bottom - @krushtonski. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 130 top - @naum_23. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 130 middle top - @natalisha_777. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 130 middle bottom - @vanillavanillasky. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 130 bottom - @chornym. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 132 top - @francescadani. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 132 middle top - @mirashlpak. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 132 middle bottom - @cumminsphoto. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 132 bottom - @back2thailand. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 134 top - @hayleyg72. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 134 middle top - @xenie190. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 134 middle bottom - @hyde_world. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 134 bottom - @kate_summer_. Instagram. 31/07/2016 p. 138 top - Guelda Voien - The entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 138 bottom - Konrad Kurzacz - Block 10 in Auschwitz I. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 141 top - Varusschlacht im Osnabruker Land, Museum und Park Kalkriese. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 141 bottom - Varusschlacht im Osnabruker Land, Museum und Park Kalkriese. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 143 top - Martina Mambrin - Cultural landscape path / Archiplan studio. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 143 bottom - Martina Mambrin - Cultural landscape path / Archiplan studio. Online image. 31/07/2016 p. 145 top - Forgotten World Adventures. Online image. 31/07/20116. p. 145 bottom - Forgotten World Adventures. Online image. 31/07/20116. 237


The Worm wood memorial in Chernobyl, A sign for each town or village that no longer exists


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Shadowed Void_ Monumenting the world’s worst nuclear disaster