Author : Xu Zhang

University : University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Status : MArch 2, 2015-2016

Advisor : Dawn Giplin

Title : Reverse Deathscape | Nevada Nuclear Testing Site

One government decision back to 1950’ turned a big portion of the Nevada (equals to 44 Manhattan islands) into a completely radioactive Deathscape, and the outcome influence of this decision is far more beyond the nuclear testing site’s physical boundary. From Hiroshima bomb‘s catastrophe in Japan to the downwinders increasing cancer rate across the United States back in time, no matter from which point of view, we all suffered from this world changing decision.

Nevada, as a place with extreme social conditions, it has Las Vegas on one side, and the Nuclear Testing Site on the other side (which is only 76 miles away from each other). It also mixes with nature landscape, man-made “positive” landscape and “negative” deathscape, we all have a clear idea of what the testing site is for now, but what about 60 years later? Or maybe the question should be what if this land no longer “needed” by the government, will it become a forever forgotten isolated deathscape?

Throughout the long human evolution history, we surely mastered the technologies for destructions, but now it is the time for us to master the technology for recreation and rethink about the other side of unclear power.

A remedy project powered by nuclear reactors and run entirely based on nuclear wastes will gradually turns the most radioactive site on earth back to a nature landscape within a 100 years timespan. A mega bio-machine will clean the soil of the site during its journey while spreading the Nuke Seeds in multiple locations. Where those nuke seeds will slowly “irrigate the site with potential”, and plant the seeds for the future possibilities. In addition, prepare the ground for both uncertainty and promise in this man-made deathscape.

Interview

S//A : What's the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
Xu Zhang_ It's not only a remedy project for the nature environment, but also as an emotional "remedy" project to those people who have suffered directly or indirectly from these history actions relates with nuclear testings. In addition, using the "positive" power of nuclear to fight against the damages did by the "negative" power of nuclear to our earth is what we need to consider for these remedy kinds of works.

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
XZ_ I like doing small fabrication designs unrelated to architecture. Also I am interested with social entrepreneurship, design for the community and the other 90% of population.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
XZ_ It seems really difficult to get the types of works I am interested to be built, but I think it is good for me to keep in mind that architecture is the element to bridge the nature and people together.

S//A : Describe your dream project
XZ_ I am interested in any project that dealing with social issue, reclaiming kind of works.