Since the beginning, it has been very interesting to discover how, despite the fact that we have reached such an advanced state of urbanity (meaning the way we produce our more or less shared space), it is still possible to scrape the bottom of the barrel and find residual urban spaces, with enormous, unexpressed potentials. In a world where design contaminates every possible field of technical knowledge and theoretical thinking, landfills still represent and exceptional void of intentions. The strategy of the Active Edge by 2A+B embodies Grønmo’s landfill as an urban organism able to constantly re-produce its own components (soil, landscapes, trash) and the relative network of socioeconomic processes behind it. More images and architects’ description after the break.
We stop treating landfills as invisible contradictions and enhance them in the Active Edge: a radical strategy that addresses the spatial and biological unity of every landfill, retracing it in order to visualize and nurture its presence.
First fundamental strategy of Active Edge is the re-definition of boundaries as basic component of all spatial species, an edge which is at the same time built presence and first instrument of mutual acknowledgement between the designed realm and the outer one. So, we reconstitute the morphological edge of the landfill, through time, to its present state (including the northern golf course).
The landfill’s border is re-configured to generate a space of friction (of denser exchange) that filters external energies through a self-contained artificial landscape. Meaning that outside forces (people – recyclable trash) can be involved in the production of the edge which is enforced by renewable energies (such as solar passive system or the landfill’s gas), rainwater control and trash itself.
The complex of liminal activities defines a double hierarchy of spaces on the edge in order to optimize the integration with surrounding infrastructures and access points. Primary hot-spots: on the western entrance, the ECODESIGN CENTER and relative co-generation plant are connected to waste collection and research facilities; on the southern entrance, a new multi-functional building for wellness center, spa and residences is related to storm water treatment and leisure activities; on the north-eastern edge, the double layered parking and the lookout tower facilitate sightseeing and leisure time. Secondary but not less important amenities, spread along the edge: equipped spaces in open setting and equipped covered spaces, toilettes, rest facilities and info points.
The second strategy of Active Edge is that of “protect by development”, exploiting internal resources to activate both surrounding spaces and the edge itself. What the system aims at is an upgraded social consciousness of landfills and trash potentials, toward the production of energy to redistribute and toward new-stronger-better concepts for the future of waste making.
Four landscapes pop out in response to the new built border, acting like complementary agents: the Productive Landscape in the west (with cultivated glasshouses and composting collection facility); the Forest Landscape on the eastern edge; the Constructed wetland at the southern entrance; the barycentric Educational Landscape informed by 2 main squares and “gas-paths”(as underground pipes are metaphorically projected on the surface to define the pedestrian level)
Western and Southern Edges
On the western entrance, a first dichotomy of the project involves the EcoDesign center and the Productive Landscape: here we foster the passive production of electricity (with and for the technical infrastructures of the landfill ) and the use of landfill’s soil to produce specific plants and vegetables with which biodegradable products can be obtained.
So, the main scope of the EcoDesign Center (in connection with the waste collection facility) is to promote smart design and research on innovative materials with a closed life cycle. For instance, endorsing the controlled cultivation of of blueberries (to be used for photovoltaic panels), mushrooms (that become perfect foam for packaging) and hemp (for fabric and fibers). Sustainable thinking is the rule. Trash is the value.
Water management constitutes the second macro-systemic dichotomy of the Active Edge, which has its core in the wellness center at the south entrance. These activities, beside the usual passive systems for energy production, benefit from the use of purified water. The water treatment requires a complex project, which includes two levels of purification, one for rainwater (to the edge) and one for the leachate (through the constructed wetland The purified water can be reused in the different functions placed along the border and inside the landscape. Again, sustainable thinking is the rule. Water is the value.