Atlantis 2000 - Per Aspera Ad Astra

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International Underground Space Design Competition in Valkenburg an de Geul

Over the course of history man has attempted to exert his ideas upon the earth. Through laboriuos processes these intellectual alterations have manestified in physical form. This site and in particular the mines exemplify man’s imposition of form into the earth. The physical subtractive process by which the mines were created is a result of compromise of forces. Man’s ideology of the insertion of a formal idea of space exclusively based upon a structural rationalisation within the earth. The mine plan exemplifies the inherent capacity of the earth to alter formal applications to ist composition. The overlay of an additive, virtual constructed ordering system of the mines serve as an actual location for the reconnection of subsurface and surface. The meridian grid utilized at it’s maximum ordering capacity of the individual second interval, overlayed upon the specific site, yields five intersections. These function as centers of individually used areas which are part of a new space ordering system within the whole labyrinthian mine structure. Starting with these five, the possibilities of extension are endless. The invention of perspectival representation made the eye the centre point of the perceptual world. Before Going underground we should remember our senses again.

The renasissance system of the senses was related with the image of the cosmic body: vision was correlated to fire and light, hearing to air, smell to vapour, taste to water and touch to earth.

„Perception thus becomes a medium with a form of ist own and finally we make the perception itself the object of our perception.“ (James Turrell )


Year 1998
Client City of Valkenburg, Holland
Agency Student's project at  the University of Cincinnati
Contribution Concept, design, sketches, drawings, photos, texts
Team Andrew Westfal
Images © Claudia Schleyer