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Arch lai timothee mercier fa19 04 soil institute

Soil Institute

The Soil Institute is a research center for soil health and phytoremediation. Through its laboratories, archives, and landscape the new center will test and monitor soil from coal surface mines in the State of Wyoming and beyond. It is at once a potential solution for an accelerated biological reclamation and an alternative to the existing cut-fill-cut model of mining activities. In doing so, it creates new architectural spaces–whose language is directly related to local materials, namely earth–and the agents of reclamation–which are the plants themselves. The main building is a series of “trays” which host six different species of plants that are known to clean the soil of toxins deposited by coal mining. The exact geometry of the super-sized planters is based on the width and depth of the plant roots, which in turn informs the rest of the space within the building.