Scorched Earth

Oslo Architecture Triennale, 2019

The project Scorched Earth re-appropriates the existing bore holes in the near-abandoned town of Centralia, PA as geothermal installations to power Stirling engines. We are using that mechanical energy to power fans and extract flu gases from the mine. The bars running across the landscape clean the carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur resulting from anthracite combustion from the area. The bars, acting as filters. create underneath a space for reunion and discussion for the community that takes the form of an open dome. It is an environmental memorial.


The events affecting Centralia partake in a larger regional logic of decline and degrowth in Pennsylvania. From towns impacted by the opioid crisis to rust-belt communities affected by the loss of blue-collar jobs, or even property owners agreeing to hydrocarbon extraction via fracking to keep their properties, degrowth becomes the unexpected byproduct of capitalism. Our intervention in Centralia consumes the energy underneath to provide fresh air to the questions posed by these processes.



Credits: The Fautory with Miranda Esposito and Marc Miller

Model: Buit

Photographs: © José Hevia