FOP


Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York
08.05.2010, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Contemporary New Yorkers co-exist intimately with material traces of powerful geo-forces from deep time. Apartment buildings made of red sandstone from the Triassic (245-208 million years ago) both shelter us and populate our visual space. Materials, colors, and textures that fill our streets are not from the world we inhabit.  They are from former worlds that existed millions of years ago, worlds as strange as any in science fiction.

FOP’s project for the coming year is Geologic City, A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York. Using photography, graphic design, and interpretive writing, we will visualize the reality that modern life and geologic time are deeply embedded within one another. A guide to ancient geologic materials and forces that make up New York’s architecture and infrastructure, Geologic City is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts, Architecture Planning & Design program for 2011.

Geologic City will be an alternative mode of representing New York City’s built environment–one that asserts:

“All geologic time is contemporary: all materials that we use to give form to the city have come to the present through deep geologic time.  These materials are continuously remixed by geologic forces.  And they are enculturated by human design as the city’s architecture and infrastructure.”

We’ve been struck by the argument that humans are cognitively incapable of grasping the vastness of geologic time. Maybe it’s just that up to this point, our species’ survival has never depended on having the cognitive capacity to think beyond a generation or two in either direction.

But now, the very fabric of our daily lives depends on extraction of earth materials that took millennia to form.  And our actions have created waste materials whose “geologic layer” will most likely outlast our species. We think it’s time to evolve ways of imagining time that equal the reach of our grasp.

Haverstraw Quarry, Hudson River, source of limestone used to build Yankee Stadium. Photo: Center for Land Use Interpretation

So our new project is rooted in the questions:  What if design could help us recalibrate our capacities to imagine deep time? What if everyone did what geologists do: stretch imaginations to recognize the world around us as filled with the materials of worlds that preceded us?

We imagine people moving through the city with Geologic City in hand.  It will invite them to see the city through the materiality of deep time.  Our guide’s entries will place each site’s materials in the geologic epoch that created them.  And they’ll include information about what and how much geologic material was used, where it originated from, and how far it traveled:

Rockefeller Center completed 1939, several thousand tons of Indiana Limestone shipped 800 miles. Indiana limestone was deposited over millions of years as marine fossils decomposed at the bottom of a shallow inland sea which covered most  of present-day Midwestern United States during the Mississippian Period, 335-340 Million years ago.

all Geologic City related posts can be found here: | intro1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 101112|


14 Comments so far
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[...] An ambitious & interesting project from Friends of the Pleistocene. Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York http://fopnews.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/geologic-city-a-field-guide-to-the-geoarchitecture-of-new-yo… [...]

Pingback by Stuff we linked to on Twitter last week | Highly Allochthonous

Many thanks for the information!

I did not imagine that the whole giant structure material is extracted from a lot of earthmoving activiites.

My question is whether the designers or architectures calculated how long the extracted material such as limestone will be usable or capable to support the building structure.

Comment by William Le

[...] Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York [...]

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[...] Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York [...]

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[...] Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York [...]

Pingback by Stepping into Time (Geologic City report #4) « Friends of the Pleistocene

[...] Geologic City: a field guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York is a project of Friends of the Pleistocene (FOP). An illustrated project description can be viewed here. [...]

Pingback by Geologic City : The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts

Nice! I look forward to this. Particularly interested in where fossils can be seen in building stone.

Comment by mthew

[...] marvelously named “Friends of The Pleistocene” and Smudge Studio are working on a geological guide to the city’s building materials as a way [...]

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[...] Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York [...]

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[...] Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York [...]

Pingback by Monument to the Miocene (Geologic City Report #6) « Friends of the Pleistocene

[...] deep geologic time.” This assertion guides Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse’s Geologic City: a Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York City. Since August 2010, Ellsworth and Kruse have been posting “Geologic City Field [...]

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[...] Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York « Friends of the Pleistocene [...]

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[...] bloggers behind Friends of the Pleistocene hold forth on Urban Omnibus to outline the ethos behind Geologic City, a series of field reports that are part urban exploration and part geologic survey. The project [...]

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[...] Geologic City: A Field Guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York « Friends of the Pleistocene [...]

Pingback by Geology Links for January 22nd, 2011 | The Geology News Blog




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