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Atlas of Extraction: Granular Incisions at Four Terrascapes

Part 2 Project 2023
Michaela Prunotto
University of Melbourne | Australia
How might we confront sites of geological extraction (sites of ecological and cultural disturbance) through architecture?

‘Terra’ refers to terrain, earth, or territory – Australia’s colonial history is contested through the destructive illogic of terra nullius. This project proposes a new concept-tool: terrascapes. A terrascape is an anthropogenic scene that is characterized by significant geological disturbance, by way of colonial extraction and expansion.

It is no longer tenable to consider a site of extraction as a single place.1 As the beginning of an open project, this multi-scalar atlas explores four terrascapes radiating from Narrm, Australia. Sites include the Beech Forest Quarry (from which arkose sandstone was extracted), the Westgate Salt Lake (a former sand mine), Birrarung river (whose clay has been subject to dredging and diverting), and the former General Motors Holden Car factory (where the soil is contaminated with petroleum).

Each corresponding proposition bares dirty histories for confrontation, while also proposing a programmatic ethic of care and renewal. Across all sites, the granular ‘point’ becomes an important representational device – as point clouds – and architectural device, as borehole, column, tank and pipe.

1 Gormley P, Islam S and Massoud G (Material Cultures), Material Reform, (Italy: MACK, 2022).

Michaela Prunotto

Alan Pert
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