The University of Melbourne
This speculative project, “Infrastructural Remains: Caring for Anthropogenic Ruins”, renders visible environmental stories of infrastructural care by exploring the possibility of architecture amidst Anthropogenic ruins. Juxtaposing temporalities of the deep past, the present and the deep future, the project situates itself in dialogue with the oldest concrete dam in Australia: Lower Stony Creek Dam, built in 1873 and located on the Victorian Volcanic Plains.
Once a site of significant industrial activity, today the Dam Wall is deemed a retired water storage facility and sits in the landscape as a post-industrial relic. The project proposes a suite of interventions which respond to the former life of the Dam and speculate upon its more-than-human futures; these include an Observation Tower (composed of a conglomerate of plastic debris), a Repository (housing relics, from industrial objects to Indigenous lithic artefacts), and a Seed Bank (storing collected seeds of endemic native plant species in an underground vault). In speculating upon distant planetary futures, the project foregrounds multi-species relations, nonhuman agency and more-than-human bodies, like the dammed body of water itself.
Balancing the poetic with the pragmatic, the project is a single experimental instance which responds to broader environmental concerns such as loss of biodiversity and ecological devastation and engenders ways in which we might care for and reimagine infrastructures once they are defunct.