Mining the Lower East Side

We’re not sure what’s in the water over there, but the kids at The Bartlett certainly know how to create some very well presented, conceptual projects.  This one posits a DIY mining operation under the buildings of the lower east side of Manhattan, which slowly builds over decades, as the raw bedrock of the island becomes more valuable than the real estate prices.  Amazingly well presented, but we doubt that real estate in NYC will ever be low enough to make this a possible solution.

STUDENT: Rebecca Fode
SCHOOL: Bartlett School of Architecture
CLASS: Unit 11
PROFESSOR:  Mark Smout, Laura Allen, and Kyle Buchanan

For a project called “Lower East Side Quarry,” Rebbeca Fode outlines an elaborate scenario in which the mineral content of the bedrock beneath Manhattan begins to exceed the exchange value of the real estate built upon it; accordingly, sensing access to untold wealth, residents of a rent-controlled street on the Lower East Side band together to form a rogue mining union.

And downward they go, like economically motivated cousins of London’s Mole Man, expanding their cellars beneath the streets with this mythic quarry, beginning in 2012 at a location on Orchard Street, between Broome and Grand.

Gradually, over time, the unlicensed and increasingly complicated mineworks expand beneath nearly every building in the neighborhood, following two veins of Inwood Marble that track north-south under the city; the buildings, in turn, are propped up by retaining walls and gantries as the quarry swells below.

The ground plane thus drops lower and lower each year as the buildings themselves are, in effect, severed from the earth’s surface, coming to stand like circus acrobats on stilts over a neighborhood long ago overlooked—or underlooked?—for the mineral wealth in its foundations.

All text and images via BLDGBLOG


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