Preserving bad architecture : radicaL preservation inthe post-disaster era; RadicaL preservation in the post-disasterera

by Tengjia Liu

Institution: MIT
Year: 2016
Keywords: Architecture.
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2083247
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/103477


The essence of trauma is precisely that it is too horrible to be remembered, to be integrated into our symbolic universe. All we have to do is to mark repeatedly the trauma as such. - Slavoj Žižek This thesis re-examines the role of ruins preservation by speculating on the inherent tension between disaster ruins, psychological interventions and collective memorialization. It challenges the misconception of architectural preservation which is against human interaction as well as possibilities for future change. In other words, the historicization of past events should not only be manifested as the physical integrity of artifacts, but rather shape and be shaped by the present and future of a place. The thesis seeks to rethink the act of preservation as a means of integrating memorialization into the everyday experience of the inhabitants. Sited in the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake in China, the thesis proposes an alternative way to restore and memorialize the aftermath of the Beichuan town. By establishing a live memorial versus a frozen ghost town, the thesis positions the quake aftermath in a direct relationship with the contemporary citizens and thus projects the site towards its future. The thesis traces the frozen ruins in both geographical and ideological terms. It explores preservation through memorialization by embracing future collapse, growth or transformation. After analyzing the existing urban context, the thesis welcomes change as a positive element in the preservation process. The project adapts and recycles building waste; transforms physical memories into resilient infrastructure; utilize the secondary disaster to reshape the landscape: and celebrates the tectonic rubbles together with natural or sub-natural elements, such as debris, dust, mud, as well as annual flooding. Advisors/Committee Members: Ana Miljački (advisor).