in Castiglione d'Orcia
Project by: ZACK SAMUEL & ANDREW D'ANGELO
Ruins and Revival aims to construct a discourse between two colliding narratives. The first is one that leaves the Italian countryside alone, left to become a ruin. The other embeds the latest technology into the landscape, hoping that it’s enough to revive the dwindling landscape. Areas of transparency reveal the rapid spread of the 5G system; while others remain opaque, their conditions are concealed. It must be asked whether this new infrastructure is being introduced to bolster the dwindling rural populations, or if it is merely an accelerant for their ruinization.
Power Park is not only a fully functional Biomass facility, but is open for the public to engage in the process of energy production. The illuminated graphics throughout the site suggest various modes of interaction, separation, and operation. This gradient of accessibility however does not limit one's engagement. Transparencies in material and boundaries allow users the opportunity to glance into every aspect of the complex system, while maintaining a safe distance.
The process of turning sewage sludge into usable energy can be grouped into 6 umbrella categories. These include loading, treating, storing, burning, converting, and distributing. Rather than being hidden away from the communities they serve, these spaces of power production are the focal point of social space. Gardens, parks, and dining spaces will finally engage in the conversation of energy.
Questioning the relationship between social and energy production spaces not only blur the formal boundaries, but also blur the boundaries between how each space functions. For instance, the restaurant is unique in that Power Park turns its food waste into usable energy without leaving a carbon footprint.
Chunk 1 highlights the restaurant and kitchen, where the proximity of infrastructure and public social space creates a hybrid condition. Pipes transporting fuel and waste are reappropriated and retextured as benches, and the materiality of the floor fractures to reveal the space that serves diners from below.
Chunk 2 highlights digestion tanks which siphon methane produced by sludge fermentation while allowing hardened sludge to settle. The hardened sludge is processed below, where its byproducts are used as fertilizer for the adjacent planting bed. Crop grown at the planting bed can be used both at the restaurant and as an accelerant to the sludge digestion process.