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H S P V O E T D S B Q F S T!!!!!!!!!


SOILED is a venue for dialogue and exploration, operating at the interstices of
architecture, urbanism, and the pedosphere. As a semiannual journal, it investigates
the role that the built environment plays in social issues including urban agriculture,
toxic remediation, radical infrastructure, and geophagia. SOILED curates ideas, from
the arable to the obscene, by seeking the active participation of multi-disciplinary
contributors. SOILED employs narratives, manifestoes, mappings, ephemera, and live
events to mediate its architectural discourse to the broader public.

SOILED is calibrated filth.

Groundscrapers probes systems, populations, and infrastructures that occupy mas-

sive amounts of space in our existing cities, yet go unrecognized by typical urban
dwellers. Rather than reaching vertically towards the sky, Groundscrapers seeks to
reach horizontally across disciplines to cultivate meaningful moments along and
within the pedosphere. Through conscious positioning of content, visual matter, sedi-
ment, and ephemera, Groundscrapers theorizes that the physicality of the printed
page can transcend the bookshelf—that print media can orient itself with the surface
of the earth, according to its geographical and architectural coordinates.

– the SOILED Team

1’- 0”
3’- 1¼”
9’- 3¾”

2 ¾”
’- 2


’- 1


’- 6


in Residence KATHERINE

2’- 0” 3’- 0”
The Department of
Unusual Certainties
The real buzz of city life: the
biodiverse nests of bees that
populate our urban backgrounds
and pollinate of food systems.

4’- 0”
The real buzz of daily city life doesn’t take place out on the
streets, but in our parks and backyards. Every day hundreds approx.
Other Vertebrates

of millions of bees are busy in Toronto pollinating our flora 30,000 Midge
Carrion Flies
and ensuring that we have food to eat and beautiful plants different species of
Bees Fruit Flies
to admire. The parallel world of bees in the city is a vast and
approx. Bats
complex one. With the local food movement going strong,
people are starting to take a serious look at bees again. As a
100,000 Wasps
different species of Other Animal Pollinators
case study of Toronto reveals, the urban bee world goes well animal pollinators. Thrips
beyond the humble honey bee. Moths Beetles
Butterflies Ants
Hummingbirds Sunbirds
Honey Eaters

total value of crop production
# reliant on insect pollination

circles are sized relative to the

ratio of total crop production to
420 420
crop production reliant on insect Asia 2
an Union

220 South Am 220
erica 1

East As
210 210
200 200
North America 125.7€
190 190
North Af
rica 39 14.2€ Non EU 67.8€
51.5€ 180
7.8€ 1.7€
West A Middle East A .9€
170 frica 4 sia ast Asia 167 170
63.5€ South E

Economic Value (€ billions)

Economic Value (€ billions)
Central Africa 10.1 uth Africa
East Africa
19.6€ 4.2€ 160


Total Production
Total Production
150 € 19.2€ Cent 150
ral A

140 sia 1 140
Caribbean 51
.1€ 14.0€ 4€
130 rica and 3.5€ 11.6€ 130


al Ame 0.9€ 120
0.7€ 100

90% 2:1 #% 100% 90 90

80 11.6€ 80
Brazil Nuts 1.1€
1.3€ Ocean
ia 18
of flowering plants rely on 200,000 known flowering plant % of crop production de- 60 .8€ 60

animal pollinators. species are dependent on pendent on bee pollination 50 50

40 40
pollination from 100,000 animal 30 30
pollinator species worldwide. 20 20
10 10
Bee Balm Cardinal Flower 0

100% 2% 90% 90% 48% 1% 5% 27% English Lavender Sage Cosmos Lupine Mint
Almonds Strawberries Apples Blueberries Peaches Grapes Soy Beans Oranges Phlox
90% 90% Nasturtium Zinnia Fuchsia Honey Suckle
2% Cashews Buckwheat
Peanuts 16%

5’- 0”
Foral specialists are bee species which favor certain

BEE CITIZENS flowering plants over others. All other lesser discerning bee
species are known as floral generalists.
Who are the bees of Toronto? Bee hives are constructed by honey bees, and are produced
from plant resin and beeswax.
This ‘periodic table’ calibrates Toronto’s bee citizens by biological parameters including stinger type,
housing preference, and social behavior. Social bees defer procreation to a singular queen bee; all Above-ground nests are the home of choice for most of
Toronto’s bee citizens; such nests are located in collections
other females are infertile. Group sizes can range from under a dozen to colonies of hundreds of bees. of twigs, stems, and wood.
Solitary bees are species where every female has the ability to procreate. They live in smaller groups,
Below-ground nests are the home of choice for bumble
and tend to nest in twigs and in the ground. bees; such abodes are nestled in the ground or in loose grass.

apis mellifera agopostemon virescens

parasites are a type of bee

which lack pollen collecting

domesticated honey bee structures and lay eggs in bi-coloured agapostemon
other bee species’ nests.
Social bees defer procreation to a singular queen bee; all
bombus griseocollis halictus ligatus lasioglossum dialictus triepeolus pectoralis andrena

other females are infertile. Group sizes can range from under
a dozen to colonies of hundreds of bees. Solitary bees are
species where every female has the ability to procreate. They
live in smaller groups, and tend to nest in twigs and in the

small dull green white-shouldered


brown-belted bumble bee the ligated sweet bee sweet bee triepeolus solitary mining bee

lasioglossum oemotherae melissodes druriella ceratina calcarata xylocopa virginica augochlora pura osmia sphecodes anthidium manicatum

evening primrose
lasioglossum long-horned bee small carpenter bee virginian carpenter bee wood nesting augochlora green mason bee sphecodes bee wool carder bee

Honey bees, sweat bees,

peponapis pruinosa colletes inaequalis hylaeus hoplitis megachile nomada
and bumblebees are famous
for their ability to sting, but
some bee species are not
equipped with stingers.
Stingless bees are mostly
found in sub-tropical and
tropical regions.
hoary squash bee common spring colletes masked bee black mason bee leaf cutter bee nomad bee

stinger no stinger
6’- 0”
BEE GEOGRAPHY 30 500m 30m
Where are the bees of Toronto? average # of bee nests in a typical foraging distance The minimum legal
typical Toronto backyard. from the hive of a large distance at which a bee

bee species. The grid on farm can be placed from
the map is set at 500m a property line.

houses backing onto

parks or ravines

surburbs not close to
parks or ravines

wooded areas and
rail corridors

70 40
large parks 5 downtown houses

highrises and
high asphalt

Bee Intersections
approximations of the intensity of bee species diversity
found in the different areas within Toronto.

5 high rises or high asphalt content

20 wooded areas and rail corridors

30 suburbs not close to parks or ravines

Bee Block
based on the foraging radius of the bumble bee.
40 downtown house

500m Bee Block 50 houses backing onto parks or ravines

70 large parks
0 1 2 4
7’- 0” 8’- 0”
A Day in the Life Bee Killers
The typical North American backyard is inhabited or visited by roughly 30 different species of bees. “A Varroa Mite: Fungi Nosema ceranae: Electromagnetic Radiation: Pesticides:
An external parasitic mite that attacks A small, unicellular parasite that Research has shown that bees Much of the decline in bee
Day in the Life” explores some of the basic actions and behaviors performed by bees on a daily basis. honey bees. It attaches at the body of mainly affects Apis cerana, the Asiatic can be negatively affected by populations is attributed to
the bee and weakens the bee by sucking honey bee. Known to kill a bee after electromagnetic radiation. Cell widespread of pesticides in
With a greater understanding of how bees live among us we can start to adapt and change our living hemolymph, spreading RNA viruses in 8 days. phone towers are the main source farming practice.
the process. of such radiation.
habits in order to create an environment we can both thrive in.
Colony Collapse Disorder: Bee Rentals:
A phenomenon in which worker bees Bees trucked around the country
from a beehive or European honey bee to pollinate fields causes bee
colony abruptly disappear. confusion and exhaustion,
contributing to early death.

Honey Bees drink nectar

Honey Bee Bumble Bees snap open the
floral head and exchange
from the side of some pollen while they sip on the
Bee Collapse
ary B
ee 35 45% 5.9 2.4
# of states reporting cases average bee population loss # of millions of managed # of millions of managed
The dance is used to help
Beebee colony collapse
Miles as reported by beekeepers. honey bee colonies in 1947. honey bee colonies in 2005
communicate new and
various sites in order to find a
Nectar C disorder.
Due to declining bee populations and the demand of the US agricultural industrial complex. It
is now Common for bee’s to be trucked throughout the United States in order to pollinate a
new home. wide range of crops at different points in the growing season.

ionn 3&4

The Dakotas for Alfalfa

and Clovers
Late June - Early July

Bee Rental N. Dakota Maine

N. Dakota to S. Dakota
210 +/- mi

S. Dakota Maine for Blueberries and

The Bee Dance- discoverd by


5460 $64.40 $140 I-35


S. Dakota to

Karl Von Frisch. Missouri to California

450 +/- mi
Maine to N. Dakota
1900 +/- mi
California 1500 +/- mi

The dance is described by a

6 Missouri
figure 8. The central part of the
California for Almonds Florida to Maine
1400 +/- mi

8 is disected by 2 lines. While

# of miles typically traveled average price to rent one average price to rent one highway where on May 2010
Missouri for Goldenrod
Late August - September

40° moving along this line the bee

waggles its body. Different by bee colony rentals 1 bee colony on the East bee colony in California for a major collision occurred
waggles symbolize different loaded onto flatbed trucks. Coast of the USA. almond pollination. Almond between several vehicles

Florida for a wide variety of

The Alkali Bee nest consists Citrus Fruits
March - April

things. of a series of tunnels trees are 100% reliant on and a truck carrying 17
bee pollination. million bees.
The Mason Bee builds their


nest with pebbles and held

together by glandular Transport trucks act as an extension to normal bee Commercial

secretions Transport Trucks act as foraging radii Bee Hives

an extension of the bee’s

Trees normal foraging radius.

The Leaf Cutter Bee
makes its home in
Pebbles the hollows of leaves
Leaves Pollen sac
with egg North Dakota for Alfalfa

and Clovers
Late June - Early July
The dance is used to Maine for Blueberries
help communicate N. Dakota and Cranberries
different food sources May
to the colony

Solitary B


N. Dakota to
ee 660 mi

Maine to N. Dakota
Kansas to California 1900 mi
California 1500 mi


y Be

Hive California for Almonds

February Florida to Maine

n the
Hygene i Kansas for Goldenrod
Late August – September
1400 mi

The Carpenter Bee

deposits its eggs in
Colony sizes can
Dea reach into the
holes burrowed
Honey Bees are able to
detect larvae that die. th thousands
through wood

Genetics show that different

bees have different
capabilities. Some are able to The Honey Bee, Example of an annual route for bee rentals,

uncap but not able to remove unlike the solitary shipped across the country following the
the dead larvae and vice versa
with others who cannot
Dise a se bee lives in a
communal hive
bloom seasons of different crops.
uncap. This act helps to
prevent the spread of disease
within the Hive.
The Honey Bee will depart Yellow indicates where cases of CCD have Florida Florida for a variety
from the hive if sick. Leaving been reported of Citrus Fruits
to die on its own preventing March – April
the spread of sickness

9’- 0”
Stewart Hicks + Allison Newmeyer

Holes in the ground; an earthly

residue of the current economic
climate’s effect on the building

10’- 0”
The following proposal is for a pamphlet that In the current model, unused infrastructure
explores the intersection of under-utilized is either removed completely or is pushed
or vacant infrastructures, architecture, and lower down the entropy scale to be a park.
political fictions. It contains interventions We want these spaces of forgotten industry to
ranging in scales from regional to personal, disappear, and there is nothing more invis-
with Chicago as the site, motivation, and ible than some grass and a few trees. The
source material. Each intervention is com- well worn medical analogies for these spaces
ponent of a larger speculative urban future inherited from Modernism: cancers, surgery,
scenario that involves multiple characters. suffocating typically result in only one ac-
The process for developing these scenarios ceptable land use strategy — cut it out and
began by studying and observing the city to make it green. Even contemporary examples
extract and cultivate theories on how the city follow this logic in both Chicago (Calumet
works: formally, politically and economically. Park, Bloomingdale Trail) and elsewhere
Each theory is shaped into a Chicago-ism (High Line, etc.). However, embedded in
(a particular brand of Chicago urbanism) these sites are massive amounts of energy
that serves as a foundation for a story told that make them suitable for all types of new
through the form of a graphic narrative. and otherwise unimaginable uses, spawning
new industries and modes of production.
If there is any city to exemplify resilience, it This proposal is for a series of case studies
is Chicago. In resilient systems, trauma does that deal opportunistically with these avail-
not leave scars, but instead, new sites for op- able local resources.
portunity. Chicago has proven its resiliency
throughout history, however in this proposal, The following stories are told through a format
the primary fuel for invention are the remains that resembles both a graphic novel and a
of the current economic crisis. The situation newspaper article. The sequential art form
creates four primary opportunities for design: allows for the exploration of the social and
political dimensions of urban space in ways
1. stalled building projects, that other mediums cannot. As an abstraction
2. empty existing buildings, of reality, the comic medium has the power to
3. political restructuring, and demonstrate that reality may be something
4. reinvestment in infrastructure. other than it appears. The promise of an archi-
tecture that lives in the surrealist alternative
worlds of comics opens the door for these new
possibilities and alternatives.

11’- 0”
The history of Chicago is the history of defining, layering
and growing land in the southwest region of lake
Michigan. From natural nuisance to debris
re-distribution to desirable commodity, the changing
relationship to new land defines a particular brand of
Chicago urbanism. Mistakenly, recent developments
have lost sight of this and this proposal recovers,
extends and ultimately exports this lineage of urbanism.




Fort Dearborn
chicago-‐ism extended...


The Grid: the continental grid The Sandbar: the city was engaged in a Raising Chicago: the need for an
widened to become streets for perpetual battle. The city needed the mouth of underground sewer system
movement. INFINITE Possibility to the river clear, the lake needed to deposit sand. outweighed the logic of keeping
consume land. Land is winning. buildings on the ground.




The SANDS: removing the The sands: this land was physically within the city but THE GREAT FIRE: once the fire had been extinguished,
sandbar caused land to outside of its laws. Gambling and Prostitution was legal the rubble was pushed into lake Michigan. The old city
deposit along the shore there. During the great fire, it was the only land without was reused as new land for what is now grant park
line. buildings and became a refuge for the rich and poor. and the extended area.

The narrative begins with the site of the former spire, a

piece of land at the mouth of the Chicago River that, by
now, should be host to a gleaming new building. Instead,
the site is the proud location of a giant hole in the
ground. As a symbol of the misdirected energy skyward
this story puts the site in service of the Chicago-ism of

producing new land. Rather than reaching towards the


sky, the project enables Chicago to reach for new


horizons. The Chicago Institute for Land Generation is

established to produce and oversee the process.
Skyscraper: the fire cleared the way for a new Navy Pier: the shore line has been extended GREEN ROOFS: new land has been laid on top
typology with a radically new relationship to into lake Michigan a number of times for of buildings. Nature is tarnished by our
the land. Finally the people of Chicago were able different needs. Navy Pier went from industry interventions and only a sealed covering of
to get away from it to view it anew. to education to entertainment. New land is land can contain our mistakes.

12’- 0” 13’- 0
ol lec acc
begins the Accumulation Administration housed in the Step 1: ria
te ion
Land Institute to deal with the excess of land that plagues the Harvesting material Ma

city. The local government forms a new position, an Accumulation Demo Permits 2010 Early accumulation
Officer as an elected official. Their responsibility is to control
the influx of material salvaged from the demolition of buildings
within the city and turn it into new, usable land.
Accumulations officer

2005 Late

Step 2:
Truck material to site

Step 3:
Unload material on site

Step 4: Step 5:
Press into land patty Push patty to water

Step 8:
Land Distribution
Step 6: Step 7:
Quality Inspection Land Sale and display

N/S Site Section

14’- 0”
Site Plan Upper level plan

Provides the fuel and ambiance to
close the deal.
Generation office
Houses the production LAND SPECULATOR’s office
offices for land manufac-‐ the land speculator is like a real
turing and generation.
estate agent for land that is not
rooted to a particular place or
Generation observation territory. HIs office looks like a
And oversight traditional suburban house
A raised walk for executives propped on the land patty model
to monitor operations.
Land patty model
Patty press Within the showroom, a partial
Multi-‐ton Hydraulic press piece of land is on display to
to generate sufficient potential customers.
pressure to form
insoluble land patties.
Lead you downstairs to the
Patty Press mold
gallery and patty viewing area.
The former foundation
for the spire is repur-‐
posed as a mold form for Testing Ground
land casting. From this level, potential custom-‐
ers are able to look down and see
Raw Material receiving the land move underneath. The
Dump trucks loaded with showroom opens out to allow
fresh material from the people to use the new ground.
city park to be unloaded.

Raw Material storage

Large concrete holding
bins for the storage of
building materials and soil.

Material relocation
crane has special
measuring instruments in
Administrative offices
order to provide the best
mixture for guaranteed Features views of the river and the
Chicago land patties. products of the institute.

Visitor parking

Land sales, distribu-‐ lower level plan

tion and speculation
Houses the salesmen
offices and model land
patty for prospective
buyers to view the
Lead you downstairs to the
New land testing area
This is the last stop for gallery and patty viewing area.
the land patty before it
leaves the institute. It is
visible from the customer Conveyor belt
gallery, the quality Assists the movement of land
assurance lab, and can be toward distribution.
experienced above ground.
Testing ground
From this level, customers
Land Barge Dock are able to see the cross-‐
The institute utilizes the
river as a piece of
section of land as it lazily
infrastructure for the moves past. From the other
distribution of land. side, the testing lab is making
sure the soil meets specifica-‐
Accumulation adminis-‐
tration and offices
The office building houses
the city officials in charge Land Barge dock
of the accumulation Finally the land is ready for
administration. The shipment.
elected office has an
office on the top floor
with a balcony to address Testing lab
the city Each patty is scientifically
tested to meet strict quality
Land Barge with patties
ready for shipment.

Distribution and export

15’- 0”
Once banished to make way for the
picturesque natural “other” that now
garnishes the river, this proposal
brings a new industry and production
economy to the shoreline of Chicago.
The product of this new economy is I wonder where Chicago is
land that is outside the current headed next...
political boundary of the city and
un-‐tethered to any region or territory.
It is the foundation for new societies c’mon honey. Let’s test the
and political scenarios to begin. new land that we bought!

Processing Sales distribution





16’- 0”
Printed ephemera and the built environment enjoy a long-standing love affair. Examples

3740 W Fillmore
Co-op Apiary
Chicago Honey
include transit cards, theater tickets, building maps, museum guides, lease contracts,
concert posters, advertisements of all kinds, and postcards of iconic skyscrapers. By their
nature, such forms of printed media are transitory, yet each suggests an intimate relation-
ship with a presumably longer-lasting piece of building stock or urban fabric.

As a user-friendly, printed ephemeron, the pocket subway map plots a transitory event—a
unique yet mass-replicable excursion through the city. Using the well-worn paradigm of
the subway map, specific routes through otherwise vague terrain can be easily communi- FOLD  HERE
cated. “With their colorful lines and abstract geography, the iconic maps of the London
Underground have inspired countless spin-offs.”1 How can transitory printed matter, such
as the cutout map included on the opposite page, change our routine urban behaviors?
And how can such ephemera instigate an event and catalyze social interactions on an
urban scale? 18
th As

1800 W Carroll
Transfer Station
Allied Waste
As SOILED is a Chicago-based publication, use this map to experience the provocations
of Groundscrapers in its native city; each stop on the route engages an idea cultivated
by one of Groundscraper’s contributors. Simply cut out the map and fold as indicated.
Use public transit to lead you along this SOILED tour. When the moment is right, join Groundscrapers
the release party in Pilsen; stay tuned to as the details of Release Party
this forthcoming festivity unfold. If Chicago is not the dwelling-place that you call home, TBA Pilsen
make your own SOILED map of your city! Consider this map a postcard of an iconic

1. Jacobs, Frank. Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities. Viking Studio, 2009.


Chicago Spire

ov 400 N Lake Shore Drive

806 E 64th
Living Room
Backstory Café

DIRTea Tasting

Bu 6100 S Blackstone
h es
17’- 0” te
18’- 0”
The Living Room Café, located in the Waste Transfer Station is a building or Chicago Honey Co-op provides job
Woodlawn neighborhood, provides processing site for the temporary training opportunities for the under-
restaurant-style meals, support groups, deposition of waste. Transfer stations employed while operating a bee farm
life-skills training, and other services to are often used as places where local that is dedicated to sustainable
homeless men and women in a waste collection vehicles will deposit agricultural practices. Located in the
community that promotes dignity and their waste cargo prior to loading into North Lawndale neighborhood, their
respect. As a south-side sister to the larger vehicles. These larger vehicles apiary is home to around 60 hives.
Inspiration Café in the Uptown transport the waste to the end point of Most beekeepers in the Midwest lose a
neighborhood, guests of the Living disposal in a landfill, incinerator, portion of their hives each year and
Room Café have access to a range of hazardous waste facility, or for must replace those bees with ones
programs including career services, recycling. In the future, transfer purchased from Southern or Western
voice mail, and subsidized housing in stations could be equipped with states with longer beekeeping seasons.
an effort to help men and women material recovery facilities and with The Chicago Honey Co-op is attempt-
overcome the causes of their home- localized mechanical biological ing to reduce their dependence on this
lessness and find stability by securing treatment systems to remove recyclable supply by raising their own honey bee
income and affordable housing. items from the waste stream. queens.

The Backstory Café & Social Center is Chicago Spire Hole is perhaps the Groundscrapers Release Party will
a public space as much as it is a coffee most physical scar left after the collapse instigate SOILED as a venue for
RT shop and sustainable eatery. By of the real estate market in Chicago: dialogue and exploration in physical
inviting their neighbors both near and the enormous hole along the Lake space, engaging the visitors by
far to join discussions, participate in Michigan shore was to have been—and exploring new formats for calibrating
events and host their own, the Café will likely never be—the foundation for filth. It will showcase the projects of
aims to become a hub for creative a singular 150-story condominium Groundscrapers through media not
cultural activity, collective learning, and tower designed by Santiago Calatrava. limited to the printed page or the
community building. Situated between The massive concrete-lined foundation computer. Please join us in discussing,
the disparate neighborhoods of hole is essentially a tower in reverse— re-orienting, calibrating, tea tasting,
Woodlawn and Hyde Park, the Café one that extends deep into the earth, and enjoying. Stay tuned to our
serves as an inclusive gathering space rather than into the sky.1 This hole is website as the details of this forthcom-
where people from diverse sandwiched between an elevated ing festivity unfold.
backgrounds can meet and interact. portion of Lake Shore Drive and a development of high-end residential
Chicago Architecture Club’s Mine the Gap, 2010.



19’- 0”
Rael San Fratello Architects
Ephemeral Signage; the homeless
men and women seen with their
signs on the sides of highway on
ramps, but quickly forgotten as we
drive onwards.

20’- 0”
Just as the sukkah commemorates shelter
provided during the forty desert-wandering
years of Exodus, the design for our sukkah
brings attention to the contemporary state
of homelessness and wandering within the
United states and is clad with signs made by
the homeless and destitute. By purchasing
homeless signs, from the individuals who
made them, we are also contributing to a
meal for someone who might not otherwise
be able to eat today in honor of the primary
and traditional role of sukkah, which is a feast
of bounty, of hospitality, and of welcoming
strangers. Additionally the corrugated board
shingles are made of the fibers of hardwood
tress, therefore one could equate them to the
historical use of branches on the sukkah roofs.
The frame of our sukkah tapers as it moves up
toward the sky to draw the eye up and also to
provide a smaller framework for the shingles
that are less than 4 handbreaths—relating
directly to the presence and scale of the hand
in each of the handmade signs.

21’- 0”
22’- 0”
The symbolism of the Sukkah of Signs evokes the often ignored idea of architecture as
communication device. This idea, made famous by Robert Venturi’s writings, calls for “archi-
tecture as an iconographic representation.” Venturi argues that the un-ornamented nature
of modernism is inherently uncommunicative—a major architectural shortcoming. He calls
for buildings rich in explicit symbolic communication, creating a dialogue with the viewer.
However, in his assessment of modernism, Venturi failed to address the communicative
properties of space itself. For example, flowing, multi-functional spaces exemplify the mod-
ernist values of efficiency and rationality. Thus, architecture can communicate in two ways:
though the composition of space itself and through the didactic or symbolic ornamentation
of that space.

Medieval Cathedral architecture presents a good case study of this twofold nature of
architectural communication. Like the modernist open plan, the cathedral communicates to
users through space itself—its soaring arches and linear plan inspire awe and reinforce the
Church’s hierarchical order. In addition, the cathedral’s narrative window mosaics, sculp-
tures, and paintings explicitly communicate liturgical lessons to its audience.

The Sukkah of Signs exemplifies architecture as an iconographic representation. What idea

is the Sukkah of Signs representing and communicating? In Rael San Fratello Architect s
competition narrative they state that their sukkah, “brings attention to the contemporary
state of homelessness,” and the sign covered walls are a living testament of the ongoing
existence of homelessness. However, their focus on communicating divorces their project
from its architectural roots. Albeit a provocative collection of signs, little attempt was made
to truly shape them into meaningful space and shelter. Since the Sukkah of Signs is not
used as a shelter, it may as well have taken the shape of a billboard or other two dimension-
al media to most effectively raise awareness about the current state of homelessness.

Communication is a very powerful, but often overlooked purpose of architecture. It is in fact

ridiculous to ignore architecture’s power of communication. However, architecture con-
ceived solely as communication is not architecture.

23’- 0” 24’- 0”
John Szot Studio
Vandalism, dilapidation, abuse;
the manifestations of decrepitude
that decompose our urban fabric,
in opposition or alignment with
architectural practice.

25’- 0”
The idealism inherent in the practice of
architecture opposes the inevitability of
decrepitude. Yet decrepitude in its various
manifestations (vandalism, dilapidation,
abuse) is not experientially bankrupt. In an
attempt to mine the experiential potential of
decrepitude for acceptable alternatives to an
orthodox architectural practice, the following
drawings integrate these opposing positions
through composition within the preferred
software of the trade: AutoCAD.

26’- 0”
Dan Weissman
Opportunistic ecologies, wasted
landscapes; the fermenting waste
in our landfills, occupying more
and more space as an archeology of
our consumer culture.

28’- 0” 29’- 0”
As a child, my father would take my brother and I to the local junk-
yard. We’d watch, amazed, as the compressor squashed our waste
into the dumpster, then scavenge through piles of scrap metal
and climb gigantic wheeled Caterpillar earth-movers. For better
or worse, this archetypal junk yard has given way to massively
controlled spaces of waste disposal. Today, continuously increasing
demand for material coupled with a culture of disposability has
coincided with heightened policy measures restricting landfill
development. We have a crisis of waste management. Meanwhile, as
landfilling has grown from a localized phenomenon into a regional
set of distribution networks, neo-industrialization is emerging
throughout the Great Lakes Megaregion, suggesting opportunities
for reuse of wasted landscapes. This project posits that extraction of
existing landfill sites for material and energy is inevitable.

Landfill Urbanism suggests that the act of landfill mining, a

contentious and stinky proposition, has the capacity to foster
a localized, robust industrial ecology, while also recasting the
publics’ relationship with our waste through tactical deployment of
architecture and urban space-making.

Directed Robotic Trash Extractors (DRT-E) exhume and cultivate

material, as the projects’ conveyor-belt infrastructure allows
individuals, cooperatives and corporations to safely sort and collect
based on their needs; a novel approach to accessing our 21st century

Recovery of the composting

component of recycling

resource. By allowing complete engagement with the public,


Landfill Urbanism fosters productive interdependent relationships

Recovery for recycling
million tons

150 with energy recovery

to grow between consumers, as well as offering to its users a series 100

of spectacular didactic, practical, and recreational experiences.

Landfill, other disposal


1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005

Municipal solid waste management, 1960 to 2008

US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery;
Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling and Disposal in the United States, Detailed Tables and Figures for 2008, Figure 26 & Table 29.
November 2009

Where the public of today Industrial Ecology: The shifting of industrial process
consumes, the public of landfill from linear (open loop) systems, in which resource
and capital investments move through the system to
urbanism harvests. become waste, to a closed loop system where wastes
become inputs for new processes.

30’- 0”
1. Brownell, Blane; “Material Ecologies in Architec-
ture” Design Ecologies. Ed. Lisa Tidler & Beth Blostein; Homo sapien is the only species
Princeton Architectural Press, New York NY, 2010, p229.
that creates what may be truly
37cy 78

considered waste.1
29 Luce
Gogebic Alger
51 17
Iron Schoolcraft

Dickinson Mackinac

The Landfill, out of the public consciousness, is neglected.

Delta 72

79 18

Menominee Emmet

53 20 Presque Isle
31 Charlevoix
Leelanau Montmorency 70
Antrim Alpena


Due to the lack of strong governmental oversight, Landfill

Grand Kalkaska Crawford Oscoda
Alcona 9,054,371cy


operations in the United States have historically been a breeding

Ogemaw Iosco
Manistee 49
Wexford Roscommon $37/ton
Clare Arenac
.5pt line = 200,000 CY
Osceola 33 Gladwin
Mason Lake
50 Huron

ground for corruption, excess, and sluggish-to-backward

264,053cy Mecosta
Oceana Newaygo Isabella Midland

74 Tuscola Sanilac

8 Montcalm Gratiot

environmental stewardship, its owners focused solely on waste
14 37
34,751,326cy 4 40
St. Clair
67 Ottawa Ionia Shiawassee 9
3 63 27 24 25 19

2. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act quantity as income. Recent shifts, due to a more enlightened
34 Macomb
11 Oakland
Allegan Barry Eaton Ingham Livingston


(RCRA), first enacted in 1976, is the grouping of
Type II Landfill 2 Wayne
Van Buren 5 Jackson
30 13 52
Type III Landfill 69 Washtenaw
Kalamazoo Calhoun 55 58

pubic and stringent policy decisions following 1991’s ‘Subtitle

35 71
6 41 5,870cy

laws that address non-hazardous wastes. Subtitle

St. Joseph 64
Cass Hillsdale 1 59
48 Branch
Lenawee 68
22 44 47

D, which emphasized landfill containment, was D’ federal mandates, have served to increase awareness of the
proposed by the EPA in 1988 and came into effect
NEW October 1991. waste management process.2 Or at least increase the marketing
Town of Wayne JERSEY

campaigns by the largest waste management corporations
expounding environmental stewardship.


For much of human history, waste collection and disposal has been
a purely local process, generally relying on natural processes to
renew waste into usable material. The proliferation of inorganic

Anaerobic digestion
Alcohol/ethanol production

materials into the modern waste stream has exacerbated

Imports: Michigan is the 3rd largest In-vessel composting

traditional waste handling procedures of in-ground disposal or

Mechanical biological treatment

importer of waste in the country. In Mechanical heat treatment

Plasma arc waste disposal

2009 20% of the material landfilled in Pyrolysis

Sewage treatment
Alternative Tunnel composting Robotic
Michigan originated in Canada. Waste Treatment
UASB (applied to solid wastes) Sorting Soil
Waste autoclave
Clay Waste Flows in the United States
Waste Ecologies: Interconnected Ash 1960-2008
web of waste infrastructure Another whole

Ballgame... Off-gassing
Mercury, Dioxins, etc Combustion
Unusable Compactors Recyclables
demolished 6.4% Landfill
AutoFluff Infrastructure
car material Tipper Tippers


Off-Road Dumpers

Off-Road Dumping


Waste ‘Waste-to-energy’

ll: 63

Co bbe cs

Me er

Pl ss s

mp rs

a l

Gl ta

Ru st

Incineration + Energies
1960 Waste Generated:
88,100,000 tons Landfills Industrial
Infrastructure Robotic Sorting Anaerobic digestion
Hazardous Clay/ Stack Scrubbers Alcohol/ethanol production
+ Technology Biodrying
Construction/ ~75% Soil Gasification
Landfill Cap In-vessel composting
Demolition Transfer Station Alternative Mechanical biological treatment
Municipal Transport Leachate
Waste Treatment Mechanical heat treatment
Industrial Waste
Technologies Plasma arc waste disposal
Composter Inorganic Ground Water
Sewage treatment
Tunnel composting
Commercial Waste 20Btu/ton Methane
UASB (applied to solid wastes)
Waste autoclave
VOCs Energy
Ash 4-5% Original volume
Reuse Center organic Ground Water
520Btu/ton “Waste

Institutional waste Leachate Energy”


Recycling Facility Landfill Liners

Landfill Infrastructure

Leachate Collection + Piping


Gas Collection + Piping

Ash Monitoring Equipment



Transportation ed:32% Tippers

Air Pollution Recycl

Off-Road Dumpers
Costs Plastics Collection + Piping

Global Warming

Ferrous Ga
Reuse fi
Policy Gas Plant La
Decisions Government Landfill: 52%

Co bb cs
t r
Gl als

Me pe

os s
a s

mp er
Pl as

Ru st

Landfill _ Fuel Hazardous
Cap height Heat Materials Waste
+ Energies Type II Landfill
Accepted Volume Vehicles
2008 Municipal Waste Generated:
254,100,000 tons
Type III Landfill Clay/

Remediation Vehicle Construction Electricity

Management Lea
Companies Refuse Trucks Ground Water
Rolling Water
Filtration Underground
Local Disposal
One line: 10,000,000 tons
Waste National Veolia Sources: Ground Water
Management Waste Associates Environmental Adjacent US Statistical Abstracts [online] Pollution

[Formerly Allied] Services Industries US Environmental Protection Agency [online]

Flows: Materials and Energies Entering the United States Waste Stream have tripled from 1960 to 2009, but the population has less than doubled.
31’ - 0”
Dirt Farm 3. Alan Berger connotes this wasted land as incineration. While costs incurred extracting virgin resources
Drosscape, illustrating in his text a categorical set
of distinct dross territories visible throughout North continue to mount, recycling programs have yet to make a
Mined Mound America. Of these, the Landscapes of Obsolescence significant impact on waste reduction. Meanwhile, heightened
(LOO’s) render visible the open loop in material and
energy flows. policy measures barring new landfills have resulted in the
Berger, Alan; Drosscape: Wasting Land in Urban spiraling growth of individual mounds.3
America; Princeton Architectural Press, New York, NY,
rail 2006 p186.
We Americans produce on average 4.39lbs of waste per day.4 The
Warehouse Landfill, as a time capsule holding 75% of our spent stuff, holds
cultural relevance as well as potential material wealth. Given our
uneasy reliance on foreign imports as well as diminishing global
resources, recapturing the energy, materials, and airspace currently
The Backlot held throughout the country’s landfills makes both economic and
political sense.


Conveyor-Belt Infrastructure

Located adjacent to the landfill, The Sorted Project is the 21st

century recycling facility. Feeding upon nearby landfills and newly
generated waste, it fosters an emergent industrial market ripe
5. Belanger, Piere “Landscape as Infrastructure.” with innovation. Piere Belanger notes in his essay Landscape
Landscape Journal; University of Wisconsin Press,
as Infrastructure that a shift is occurring “from conventionally
Primary Sorting large, centralized industries of mass production to a decentralized
pattern of production.”5 The Sorted Project seeks to capitalize
remediation pond
on regional waste flow infrastructures while also relying on the
living machine
market-based economy to turn waste into profit. Architecture,
Power Plant 6. For a longer discussion on ecological urbanism, when considered within tactical frameworks and techniques
see: Mostafavi, M., Doherty, G., & Harvard Univer-
sity Graduate School,of Design. (2010). Ecological proposed through ecological and landscape urbanism, can serve
Urbanism. Cambridge, Mass. :Baden, Switzerland:
R+D Incubator as a transformative catalyst for drosscape, providing a unique
Harvard University Graduate School of Design,Lars Mül-
ler Publishers. opportunity to ‘neo-industrialize’ the post-industrial landscape.6

38’-10” 37’-7” 35’-11¾” 34’-9½ 33’-10”

32’- 0”
On the fill
Directed Robotic Trash Extractors, or DRTE's, and
other mining equipment extract material, as
recreational activities such as ATVs or mountain
bike riding, snowmobile or even DRTE rides take
advantage of the constantly remolded landscape.

Gas collection and control system

Protection Layer
To gas flare station Drainage Layer
or power plant
Soil barrier
Gas vent/foundation layer

Solid Waste

Leachate collection system

Primary Geomembrane

Primary Soil barrier

Section: Directed Robotic Trash Extractor Leak Detection System

Secondary Geomembrane

Secondary Soil barrier

Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Containment System

Source: “Geotechnical aspects of Landfill Design and Construction” pg. 5

33’- 0” 34’- 0”
In contemporary urban conditions, two typical methods exist for
the re-purposing waste: the junk yard and the recycling center. As
a landscape, the junk yard lacks productive form; an underlying
logic exists, but accessibility of materials is difficult for the potential
consumer. Conversely, recycling facilities are one-dimensional in
their process, seeking specific materials for specific markets and
generally rely on bulk. The Sorted Project proposes that a third,
hybrid solution may allow for a higher return on waste materials,
combining the emergent potentials of the junk-yard with the
rigorous industrial process of the recycling center.

An emergent market-based urbanism of reuse suggests that,

similar to the intensification of energy and material flows seen at
The Power Station
catalytic moments throughout history, spatial proximity is critical harnesses energy from multiple sources: landfill gas,
in fostering novel material industries.7 Adjacency could allow for 7. For a longer discourse on material and energy methane, waste material and biomass incineration,
flows, see: De Landa, Manuel; A Thousand Years of as well as collecting the energy from wind turbines
disparate tenants to expand their networks in wholly unique and Nonlinear History; Zone Books, 1997 within each head-house chimney. The electrical energy
emergent ways, a phenomenon untenable in the drosscape. As created on site serves both the Sorted Project as well as
surrounding industry.
previously unproductive material finds meaning and purpose, a new
material economy emerges.

The Remediation Pond

handles runoff from the surrounding landfills, and
serves to clean and recycle water from both the sorting
facility and power station for reuse as cleaning and
coolant in both facilities.

Landfill Urbanism insists upon a reemergence of infrastructural
architecture as a vital element in contemporary American society.
In order to assist in reconditioning the public’s perception of waste
facilities, The Sorted Project recalls public works projects from the The Headhouse
early 20th Century and WPA era such as Boston’s majestic water Three Head-houses serve as transition points from
primary sorting to the line conveyor belts, caring
pumping stations and the Hoover Dam with its art deco detailing material into the back-lot. The Head-houses also serve
as central locations for public interaction through an
as examples of architecture created to promote the existence of
interpretive center featuring dynamic viewing experi-
infrastructure as a vital constituent of society. ences of the facility.

35’- 0”
Just as sorting adds value to material, so to can architecture become
that ‘value added’ to a large territorial project. Stan Allen, in his
essay Infrastructural Urbanism notes that:

“Architecture is uniquely capable of structuring the city in ways not 10. Allen, Stan; Infrastructural Urbanism; Points +
Lines: Diagrams and Projects for the City. Princeton
available to practices such as literature, film, politics, installation Architectural Press; 1 edition, 1999, p54.
art, or advertising. Yet because of its capacity to actualize social
and cultural concepts it can also contribute something that strictly
technical disciplines such as engineering cannot.”10

Thus, where typical industrial facilities hide themselves from the

public, here the architecture seeks to say: “come explore me!”


Here, the convection chimney functions to suck smelly air from the
recently exhumed material, generating electricity from a turbine
when conditions allow, and moreover serves as a dramatic backdrop
to the moment of revelation witnessed below. During normal
operating hours, workers stationed in the pit watch for materials
specific to their operations, radioing back to their colleagues
stationed along the line. The public is welcome at any time to view
or participate in the experience.

The Pit
36’- 0”
The Line
Along the 800’ long conveyor-belt line, lots are rented
at rates based on proximity. Closer to the head-house,
the higher the rent. Although nothing would prevent
a single company from removal of all material on the
belt, a significant cross section of material exists on each
conveyor belt to warrant multiple interests served.

Cree pulls aluminum and zinc for recycling into their

LED heat-sinks, while the Glad company contracts
workers and robotic armatures to capture spent plastic
bag material; computer repair specialists collect
E-waste, or an artist collective will rent space as a
testing ground for multi-media work. While typical
sorting facilities of today will only sort what is
economically productive to their networks, the line
allows any material to be productive again: rusty
rebar, 8oz Styrofoam cups or electric scissors.

The Line

37’- 0”
Potential lot use typologies

The Backlot
The backlot fosters an industrial market economy,
where zoning accommodates any configuration of
structure within each 6000sf lot - tenants may build
any structure they wish within planning guidelines to
facilitate their own agenda, subdividing or accumulat-
ing additional lots as needed. SEMLDI acts as local code
enforcement agency.

As tenants move in, cross-pollination occurs. Indepen-

dent harvesters have the opportunity to begin working
together, creating new material networks and econo-
mies unavailable to traditional recycling practices.

Unclaimed material is either shipped in bulk to buyers
via train or truck, connecting into regional and na-
tional transportation networks through Interstate 295.
If the economy does not exist for particular materials,
those materials may be re-deposited in the landfill for
future extraction.

Dirt Farm
As a significant portion of the landfill consists of soil
(generally used as daily cover), any reclaimed dirt may
be remediated and sold to consumers.

Export Logistics

The Backlot: Corner of Trashview Rd. and Midden Lane

38’- 0” 39’- 0”
Beyond the scale of the site, the project suggests that re-
territorialization of the regional urban ecology is imminent as
new industrial, commercial and agricultural spheres grow in
the landfill’s shadow, taking advantage of the new local material
opportunities. This intensification could adversely affect local
residents of the area, as low-density residential development is not
a productive adjacency. Rezoning of landfill adjacencies will be
inevitable to facilitate this industrial ecology.

40’- 0”
EPILOGUE: The structure predicts its own obsolescence, and
therefore is designed for disassembly.

The problem of waste is deep - it’s systemic. Although

technological advancement will no doubt attempt to minimize
the impacts of increased environmental degradation, alternatives
(or augmentations) to existing social practices are critical to
maintaining our way of life. Landfill Urbanism realizes human
nature for what it is. We must, as a species realize that completing
the cycle is not a matter of choice, but a critical element of
sustaining our very existence. Landfill Urbanism may not be the
long-term solution, nor does it seek to fix past wrongs. Under the
constraints of our current socioeconomic reality, it takes advantage
of every possible material and economic opportunity, and therefore
is unforgiving in its operations. Yet it projects hope that through
a reconditioning of our relationship to waste, the project’s very
existence will cease to be relevant at some sought-after moment in
the future.

On the landscape of the landfill, entrepreneurs, corporations, artists

and consumers collectively struggle to control the energy flow,
where closing the cycle is the key to power.

41’- 0”

Katherine Darnstadt
Grit on our potatoes; instead of
obliterating dirt in the name of
health and cleanliness, let’s eat it.

in Residence
42’- 0”
dirt humble



SOIL… is a three dimension body varying in definitional depth from 6 inches for the U.S. The latin word hummus, meaning ground is the same etymological root that gives us the word
army to 42 inches for Chicago architects. It is a dynamic system in constant flux as it occupies humble and homo meaning man. Soil connoting something dirty is a late middle English word
both space and time. which derived from the Latin sus meaning pig. Language propelled our disconnection from
soil, a word we now associate with filth rather than life.
DIRT… is under your fingernails right now. It is more scandalous than soil—to say someone
is dirty is obscene.

43’- 0” 44’- 0”
source material atmo | bio
medium for crops
medium for plants
home to organisms
waste decomposer atmosphere biosphere
gas exchanger
filter atmo | bio | litho atmo | bio | hydro

integrator atmo | litho bio | hydro

atmo | hydro | litho bio | hydro | litho

lithosphere hydrosphere

litho | hydro

We have focused on the generalities of soil, seeing it as a medium for plants to grow or a The atmo, bio, hydro and lithosphere exist independently while also merging with each other to
bothersome source material we push out of the way before we build. Soil is an unbiased create delicate ecotones. Designers have been influenced by these efficiencies of nature; from
historian that tells lies and truths with equal vigor. This grand integrator is the only inclusive cellulose inspired structure to bee hive social migration patterns. Our biophilia should be
system we know on this planet—it cannot be duplicated. focused not on one off natural phenomenon but on the pedosphere. This inclusive system is
produced from the unique combination of the other elements of the earth.

45’- 0”
10% no topsoil
20% dry
pedosphere 20% snow
layer of earth in which soil forming processes occur 20% mountains
30% farmable surface area _ 45,988,500 km²

Soil is dependent on each sphere for constant rejuvenation while the other spheres are Only 30% of soil qualifies as arable land or farmable. At the macro level it is at such a pre-
reliant on the soil for their purification. This interdependence creates the decomposing mium to cause wars, genocide, eminent domain land grabs and patent infringement lawsuits.
layer we feast upon daily. But the real intrigue with soil is at the micro level, and the application of soil processes back to
the individual and philosophical level.

46’- 0”
decomposing organic

O horizon : humus

A horizon : topsoil
E horizon : evuliation xY
soil solum formed by B1

pedogenic processes B horizon : subsoil



unconsolidated parent C
C horizon : regolith

consolidated rock R R horizon : bedrock
beneath the soil

Soil is constructed in horizons. The r horizon is the deepest part of the soil from the surface This change in soils morphological features is due to processes acting continuously on the
and is solid bedrock. Weathering breaks the bedrock into smaller pieces until the o horizon, soil. This network of interconnected systems result in feedback reactions. For example, pro-
or hummus layer [ good luck eating mediterranean food ], forms as organic matter accumu- cess x results in a soil environment that influences process y which influences process x again.
lates at the surface. This layer is in a constant state of decomposition—the dead feeding the
living. The input equals the output.

47’- 0”
then now

350 | 2a7

individual | if x, then 1, then on | if y, then 0, then off

group | adjacent x, then 1, then on | adjacent y, then 0, then off
a new eucharist

Take the basic component of soil, assign properties to it as an individual and then multiply it. A Our fear of dirt and reliance on pills to cure aches, pains and erections has made hygiene a
pattern will emerge. Do you see it? New properties, new patterns. New inputs, new outputs. In disease of affluence. But everyday our ingestion of rocks and clays is concealed behind FDA
an algorithmic world of one’s and zero’s, eventually you will be cancelled out, but soil equalizes. approval and clever names as Centrum, and Kaopectate.

48’- 0”
world population
geophagia average human surface area
2.0 meters²

human surface area

[66 inches * 143 pounds / 3131]½ = 1.736 meters²] human surface area
6” 13,384,060 km²

500 years to form

one inch of soil


Geophagia is the consumption of earth. Geophagia in children often results in intestinal Science now allows us to be petrified in our continued search for immortality. These flimsy
diseases as children ingest the hummus layer teeming with bacteria. Geophaigic adults are bodies would be best used in tandem with the soil, not by creating the smallest carbon foot-
more brand loyal, ingesting soil from specific locations at a depth of 12 inches or more where print but by equalizing ourselves with the earth through a new type of consumption. Simply
one is hundreds of years in the past. Bacteria have come to equilibrium. Life has petrified. put, eat dirt and die.

49’- 0” 50’- 0”
do not use if earth has been opened or
shows signs of tampering

nutrition facts
serving size 1/8 tsp [ 500mg ]
drug facts
active ingredient purpose
servings per container 33 montmorillinite clay ?
amount per serving uses
calories 0 detoxification general health
diarrhea heartburn
% daily value * weight loss aid acid indigestion
acne treatment burn reliever
moisture 0 0% energy supplement
dietary supplement
mineral supplement
protein 0g 0%
when using this product do not use
total fat 0g 0% more than directed
carbohydrates 0g 0% directions
take 500mg dose daily in whatever
dietary fiber 0g 0% manner preferred
sugars 0g 0% [pill, liquid, soild, mixed]
do not exceed 500mg in a 24 hour
% daily value % daily value period

calcium * zinc * store at room temperature

iron * copper
* if pregnant or breast feeding, ask a
health professional before use
magnesium * manganese *
phosphorus * selenium keep out of reach of children
potassium * sodium * in case of accidental overdose, get
medical help or contact a poison
control center immediately
* percent daily values are
30% farmable surface area _ 45,988,500 km² based on a 2,000 calorie diet questions or comments?

9% human surface area _ 13,384,060 km² ingredient : earth

30% increase of farmable soil

In the earth, our newly detoxified bodies can increase the amount of arable land by 30%. The Montmorillinite is one of the 17,000 soil types that are presently classified, and the darling of
same way solid bedrock is broken down to become soil, our bodies are cannibalized by the the EPA to decontaminate superfund sites. If it can clean up after the toxic stepchildren of
earth. Our identity is not lost but changed into a new soil type. Exxon, what can it do for the toxins in the human body when added to our foods?

51’- 0”
weight loss
increased energy SAVAN

increased libido
increased alcohol tolerance YL

increased hair growth

improved complexion DIR I
decreased stress T


Health benefits observed ranged from weight loss to increased alcohol tolerance. To celebration all things soiled, I would market this philosophy of dirt to a new generation,
indoctrinating them through vitamins, elixirs and teas. Mud wrestling events where you can
lick the contestants clean and also build your immune system. [ patent pending ]

52’- 0”
rhizome soil

Academia should push to follow the soil model in tandem with the rhizome model for a deeper …and all of this—for free.
understanding of the natural environment—and something more than an intellectual exercise
or utilitarian task. As we are creating bigger machines to look at smaller particles, we should
use soil as a new Zeno’s paradox... the smallest and the largest at the same time. We are aliens
adrift in this synthetic environment when we are disconnected from the earth. But it is the
pedagogy of soil that helps us understand the interdependence of everything and return to
a life of greater authenticity.

53’- 0”
Stewart Hicks is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Dan Weissman, a Milwaukee native, is currently a Master of Design Studies Candidate
Urbana-Champaign. He co-founded a collaborative practice, Mitnick Roddier Hicks, at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design researching passive systems and
which has received multiple design awards and has been published internationally. His ecological, landscape and infrastructural urbanism. In 2010 he and Kyle Sturgeon be-
research explores how media and architecture can work together to augment reality and gan a collaborative practice, the Local Lab. Dan has worked as a Lighting Designer at
create perceptual parallax. He explores these themes through built work, installations, Lam Partners in Cambridge, MA, and instructor at the Boston Architectural College. He
and print, such as the new school journal initiative, thawed. holds a Masters of Architecture from the University of Michigan, plays mandolin, makes woodblock prints, and is an avid watcher of Mad Men.
Allison Newmeyer graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelors and
masters of architecture. She has worked in architecture offices in both Illinois and New Rael San Fratello Architects, established in 2002 by partners Ronald Rael and Virginia San
Jersey, and has entered numerous national and international design competitions. Most Fratello, is an internationally recognized award-winning firm whose focus on emerging tech-
recently, she received an honorable mention for the 2010 Chicago Prize and was a finalist nologies and ecological design lies at the intersection of architecture, art, culture, and the
for Wicker Park-Bucktown Make Believe to create an installation in an empty storefront in environment. As practitioners and academics, they seek to bridge the gap between the
Wicker Park with Stewart Hicks and Jimmy Luu. theory and practice of ecological thinking through design and are committed to innovation
through research, analysis and artistry. Rael and Fratello utilize the most sophisticated
Katherine Darnstadt is an architect trained in Paris, Copenhagen and Chicago influenced technologies available, from rapid prototyping, computer-aided manufacturing and 3D mod-
by frivolity, opportunity and the decadence of humanity. Her firm, LATENT DESIGN, seeks eling, analysis and visualization to help their clients realize their visions.
to work with underrepresented communities to solve social issues through collaborative
design. She is the Co-Director of Architecture for Humanity Chicago and a founding mem-
ber of the AIA Chicago Chapter Community Interface Committee. She currently teaches at John Szot is an award-winning designer living and working in Brooklyn, New York. His
the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently designing a community center in work in architectural design has been exhibited in New York City, Portland, Chicago,
Chicago and a prototype for a nomadic produce caravan that will utilize decommissioned and the Netherlands. He currently splits his time between the activities at his atelier and
CTA transit buses to combat food deserts in Chicago. lecturing at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture on the relationship between digital media and architectural practice.
Department of Unusual Certainties is a Toronto-based research and design collective
working at the interstices of urban design, planning, public art, spatial research and map-
ping. The Department’s work, directed by Brendan Cormier and Christopher Pandolfi,
is informed by one guiding philosophy – that the city is the physical manifestation of a
long sequence of unusual certainties, each one simultaneously more unusual and yet
more certain than its predecessor.

54’- 0” 55’- 0”
Summer Solstice 2011
Publisher Editor-in-Chief
The world’s population will reach seven billion in 2011. Skinscrapers probes the conditions
CARTOGRAM architecture+urban design Joseph Altshuler
of human density that will challenge current behaviors of living. While many studies of den-
Art Director sity approach changing demographics macroscopically, Skinscrapers takes an alternative
Editorial Team Matthew Harlan approach. Skinscrapers seeks to reach human-ward, to investigate social issues of human-
Joseph Altshuler scaled proportions, and to cultivate meaningful moments along and within the epidermis.
Editorial Consultant Akin to Groundsrcapers before it, Skinscrapers theorizes that the physicality of the printed
Michael Jividen
Eylül Kethüda Wintermeyer page can transcend the bookshelf—that print media can orient itself with earth’s myriad
Isaac Bloom
Cover Concept / Design inhabitants, according to anatomical and architectural coordinates.
Matthew Harlan
Narratives, manifestoes, essays, diagrams, mappings, photographs, design projects,
and ephemera, among other salient media, will be reviewed for inclusion. Contact us by
March 21, 2011 if you want to contribute.
Questions and entries may be directed to:
As a nonprofit journal, SOILED is seeking private support for its future issues. Currently,
our content is available for order print-on-demand (POD) in addition to a free electronic
version. One of our priorities for the future is to expand this distribution model by
additionally printing a small run of copies to donate to the libraries of relevant cultural

Please contact Joseph Altshuler ( if you are interesting in sup-

porting any of the printing expenses for our future issues. Thank you!

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Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
56’- 0”
The moment I step foot outside of my apartment I am greeted by a sidewalk cracked and
weathered from years of salt, dirt, and abuse. The ground pushes it up from beneath and we
beat it back down. Again and again and again. Concrete is relentless. Asphalt is even worse.
As urban city dwellers, we are constantly in a state of war with the natural world around us. And
yet, conservatories and flowerpots fascinate us. Window-ledge herb gardens and medium light
houseplants sit next to organic peanut butter and soymilk on the shopping list. We destroy
what is outside of our home, yet cherish and care for what we choose to bring in. The implica-
tions are not intentional, but by choosing to reside in an urban environment, we are choosing to
take part in a systematic removal of all things natural. Trees and earth are removed to make way
for more homes and highways; the pedosphere is manipulated to better fulfill our needs. How-
ever, even the greediest contractors and developers feel a need for green. The travel industry
makes billions of dollars each year, and even in a recession, photo albums of recent trips to the
Bahamas are still being printed. We cover our rooftops in gardens and pour money into parks
for our children, friends, and partners to enjoy. Community gardens are becoming popular, and
even urban farms are sprouting up in cities across our nation.

This connection to the land is not ours alone. We sometimes forget that even the tallest
skyscraper is made from materials that have been pulled from the depths of this earth. The
iron that runs through our buildings and bridges also runs through our veins, and both, if
not cared for, can spill back into the earth. We are symbiotic cohabitants of our environ-
ments. We share our resources, our pains, and our joys. The cravings that drive us to plant
trees and grow gardens are reflected in the architecture that surrounds us. In this sense, hu-
manity and architecture both crave a return to the soil. Fight it though we may, we both are
battered by the winds of time. Bullets tear through both our facades. The shaking ground
brings us both to our knees. Architecture and humanity will inevitably crumble and be bur-
ied in the soil. Both will one day lay peacefully together, awaiting excavation by some future
inhabitants of this world.

While walking the streets of Urbana, Illinois a few years ago, I came across a fascinating piece
of graffiti. Someone had written on a concrete barrier “I wish I were a park.” It resonated
so strongly with me, as I too wished I were a park, or in one at the very least, and I wanted so
badly to carry this barrier home with me. It seemed to me that the concrete had somehow
wanted to be defaced by this graffiti—that it had written the words itself. I decided to come
back with a camera and capture this mutual longing in a photograph. I thought back to this
photograph when taking on the task of creating a physical manifestation of “Groundscraper.”
I wanted to create something to transcend the bookshelf—to become something to hold
and use. What follows is some documentation of the “Groundscraper” in use and some
instructions. I implore you to take SOILED with you on your daily travels, and use this hopeful
“Groundscraper” in your own neighborhoods and cities.

57’- 0”
Cut along the marked line with an x-acto blade or similar knife. Fold the barrier up, at a 90º angle to the page. Hold your “groundscraper” out in front of you, horizontal to the ground, or place it in your environment.

58’- 0”
59’- 0” 60’- 0”