The Enduring Mountains
Design Thesis, MA Environmental Architecture, Royal College of Art
Tutor: Dr Godofredo Pereira
Practice Mentor: Benedict Singleton (RIVAL)
In the future, based on IPCC Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5-8.5, the Lithium Triangle area (Bolivia, Chile, Argentina)is expecting higher temperatures and more precipitation. This climate trend towards the future will lead to overall lower evaporation rate and eventually will squeeze the profit of lithium extraction, forcing the mining corporations to gradually reduce the investment and possibly withdraw from the area.
From 2020, a cross-nation organisation “AZAD” (Atacameños Zone to Defend) will set up in the Puna de Atacama, Andes Mountains. The AZAD has its origins in resisting the extraction corporations in defence of the environment, Atacameños’ right to decide the future of their territories, and the rejection of the capitalist economy.
The design proposal identifies monitoring as a space of disputes. Reflecting on the concept of Atacameños worldview and relations between mountains, a spatial-temporal sensing network is proposed as a catalyst to trigger new modes of living towards the future. The network will operate by the AZAD, it contains several types of sensors to not only collecting data from the mountains but allow continuity between the sky and the earth, the mundane and the sacred in line with their beliefs.
The network constructed by Atacameños will allow them to have better conditions to contest data-based disputes in the present and conquer the right to speak and interpret the environment in the future.
The project is challenging tradition understanding of architecture, by actually understanding the mountain its self is the architecture, architectural object. And while at the same time positioning environmental architecture in between cosmological understanding of time, the intertemporal relations between human and unhuman, and I believe that keeping diverse thinking/concept of time and types of temporal thinking is important, especially in adapting our relation to the environment towards future through the use of technology.