A byproduct of fossil fuel addiction, massive pit-mines scar the landscape of several US states. The mines have destroyed families, ecosystems, towns, and- when they close- economies. Despite the harm that these mines have caused, however, they may yet play a part in a sustainable utopian future. Not as a mine, but as a vertical, underground, sustainable city.
That’s the vision of Matthew Fromboluti the designer behind an “underground skyscraper” that he believes could help heal the mine-scarred landscapes of the US, starting with the desert outside of Bisbee, Arizona. His 2010 design project from the Washington University of St. Louis, titled “Above Below”, proposes filling the 900-foot deep and 300-acre wide crater left by the former Lavender Pit Mine with a structure that will hold living areas, offices and workshops, and a vertical garden space for farming and recreation.
At the heart of Frombulti’s design for these pit mines-turned sustainable cities is a passive climate control system (shown, above) that he calls a solar chimney. The solar chimney would provide electricity to the massive structure while encouraging air circulation for the area below. The pipes extending above ground “take advantage of the desert sun” while staying true to the desert environment’s aesthetics by “evoking the form of native cacti”, according to Frombulti’s website.
You can see more of the Above Below design project below.
(Source: Green building elements)