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Irresistible Decay : Reclaim Ruins in Chiatura, Georgia. Huang, Jiahui 2019-04-26

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Irresistible Decay: Reclaim Ruins in Chiatura, Georgia.Jiahui HuangApril 2019Advisor: Kees LokmanName Signature DateRELEASE  FORMLandscape ArchitectureSchool of Architecture and Landscape ArchitectureUniversity of British ColumbiaName: Jiahui HuangUBC Student number: 24018153Graduate Project Title: Irresistible Decay: Reclaim Ruins in Chiatura, GeorgiaIn presenting this report in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia, I agree that UBC may make this work freely available for reference or study. I give permission for copying the report for educational purposes in accordance with copyright laws._______________________ ________________________   _______________________Irresistible Decay: Reclaim Ruins in Chiatura, GeorgiaJiahui HuangApril, 2019Advisor: Kees LokmanInstructor: Daniel Roehr, Susan HerringtonSubmitted in partial fulfillment for the Master of Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia.iPART 1AbstractThesis StatementIntroduction: Ruins and Decay Defining ruins Factors and opportunities Types of ruinsRuins “Around” Us Ruins and fiction Ruins and design Ruins and people Ruins and recreationRuins: Meanings and Perception Time Connections Aesthetics MaterialityRuins: Present Situations Problems UsesPrecedents and Design Strategies Baitasi Remade Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord Side Effect The DoMa Gallery Site Analysis: Chiatura Past and present Townscape Ruins Pioneer Palace and Park New developmentProjected Scheduleiv12346891011121415161718202123262730323436394042454647Table of Contents .PART 2Design Solution Directions Design Objectives Guide Site Analysis Overall Design Renderings ConclusionReferences484950525658606566iiFigure List.Diagram of different types of modern ruins, Jiahui Huang (2018)Movie scene from Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve (2017)Screenshot from the Last of Us, Naughty Dog (2013)Poster from Chernobyl VR Project, The Farm 51 Group SA (2016)Photograph of the Pipeline project, Christophe Machet (2018)Photograph of the Typographia chairs covered in Jean Paul Gaultier’s rust-like fabric, Morgane Le Gall (2016)Photograph of Lori Nix’s miniature library, Lori Nix (2013)Fashion photograph for Burberry, Carla Guler (n.d.)Photograph of a dancer in Taizhou Contemporary Art Museum, Yi Yin (2018)Photograph of the Rolling Acres Mall, Seph Lawless (2014)Photograph of the Urban Cooling Tower IM in Belgium, Xiao Yang (2014)Screenshot of the Urban Exploration forum, 28 Days Later (2018)Screenshot of the Youtube channel, the Proper People 2 (2018)Conceptual diagram of ruins and time, Jiahui Huang (2018)Conceptual diagram of ruins and connection, Jiahui Huang (2018)Photograph of a church in Michigan, United States, Tortured Souls, David de Rueda (2013)Photograph of Le Désert de Retz in Chambourcy, France, built in 1774, designed by François Racine de Monville (n.d.)Photograph of a disused greenhouse in southern France, Ivy, James Kerwin (2016)Photograph of the Owl Creek Residence in Snowmass, United States, designed by Skylab, Robert Reck (2018)Photograph of a local man and the Blue Hospital in Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, James W. Frank (2015)Rendering of Baitasi District, Beijing, China, Baitasi Remade (n.d.)Photograph of Hutong Playground, Politecnico di Torino (2017)Photograph of Photography Marathon competition, Baitasi Remade (2017) Screenshot of the website Renew Newcastle (2018)Rendering of an unrestored gallery room, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, OMA (2014)Photograph of Shangwei Village Plugin House, Shenzhen, China, designed by People’s Architecture Office, Fang Family exterior, Changheng Zhan (2018)Photograph of a pocket park in London Wall Place, London, United Kingdom, designed by Make Architects, Martina Ferrera (2018)Photograph of the Sinter Park in Duisburg-Nord Landscape Park, Duisburg-Nord, Germany, Mark Wohlrab (n.d.)Photograph of Ninfa Garden, Cisterna di Latina, Italy, Accessible Italian Holiday Group (n.d.)Photograph of Piazza Metallica in Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord, Duisburg-Nord, Germany, Peter Liedtke (2011)Photograph of the climbing walls in Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord, Duisburg-Nord, Germany, Michael Latz (2011)Photograph of Side Effect, Bat Yam, Israel, Amir Lotan (2011)Rendering,  A view within the Mushroom Ward, in Ruins in the Landscape: The Blue Hospitalof Figure 1.Figure 2.Figure 3.Figure 4.Figure 5.Figure 6.Figure 7.Figure 8.Figure 9.Figure 10.Figure 11.Figure 12.Figure 13.Figure 14.Figure 15.Figure 16.Figure 17.Figure 18.Figure 19.Figure 20.Figure 21.Figure 22.Figure 23.Figure 24.Figure 25.Figure 26.Figure 27.Figure 28.Figure 29.Figure 30.Figure 31.Figure 32.Figure 33.iiiBugojno, James W. Frank (2015)Photograph of the interior of the Ruin Academy, Taiwan, Marco Casagrande (2010)Photograph of the exterior of the DoMa Gallery, Baltimore County, United States, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture (2002)Rendering of the extorior of Menokin, Warsaw, United States, Machado Silvetti (2015)Photograph of the entrance of Badenweiler Roman Bath Ruins, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, designed by Schlaich, Bergermann und Partner in 2001, Achim Mende (n.d.)Photograph of the interior of the DoMa Gallery, Baltimore County, United States, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture (2002)Location map of Georgia and Chiatura, Jiahui Huang (2018)Photograph of Chiatura townscape, Carly from Fearless Female Travels blog (2018)Photograph, Chiatura Ropeway Central Station, Irakli Zhozhuashvili (1973)Photograph, Chiatura: Ropeway Center - Naguti, Irakli Zhozhuashvili (1975)Photograph of an European-style building in Chiatura, Kamila Napora (2018)Photograph of an apartment building in Chiatura, Gilles Bourdin (2017)Photograph of fruit stalls in Chiatura, Carly from Fearless Female Travels blog (2018)Photograph of a bridge on the Qvirila River, Marco Fieber (2013)Timeline of Chiatura, Jiahui Huang (2018)Topography map of Chiatura, Jiahui Huang (2018)Transportation map of Chiatura, Jiahui Huang (2018)Ruin distribution map of Chiatura, Jiahui Huang (2019)Photograph of an abandoned cableway station in Chiatura, Jiahui Huang (2018)Photograph of an abandoned factory in Chiatura, unknown author on Fiveprime (n.d.)Photograph of a cable car station in Chiatura, La Dent de L` oeil (n.d.)Photograph of the abandoned train station in Chiatura, Jiahui Huang (2018)Plan and section of Chiatura, Jiahui Huang (2018)Photograph of the entrance of the Pioneer Palace, Jiahui Huang (2018)Photograph of the interior of Pioneer Palace, Jiahui Huang (2018)Timeline of the Pioneer Palace, Jiahui Huang (2018)Rendering of the new cablecar station, NTS (2018)Figure 34.Figure 35.Figure 36.Figure 37.Figure 38.Figure 39.Figure 40.Figure 41.Figure 42.Figure 43.Figure 44.Figure 45.Figure 46.Figure 47.Figure 48.Figure 49.Figure 50.Figure 51.Figure 52.Figure 53.Figure 54.Figure 55.Figure 56.Figure 57.Figure 58.Figure 59.Abstract.Ruins can be invaluable relics, decorative follies or problematic garbage in cities. Many people see the value of ruins only in the history that lies behind them, but ruins are much more complex. They evoke nostalgia, contemplation and imagination. While some ancient ruins have been developed into tourist sites, modern ruins have the potential to be explored and experienced in a different way. The project title “irresistible decay” means ruins cannot resist the power of time or lack of funds for renovation, while people are also irresistible to the “ruin porn”. This project explores the situations of modern ruins and how they are perceived, used and re-purposed today. The goal is to reveal the new aesthetics of decay, determine the requirements for experiencing ruins in a contemporary context, and encourage the field of landscape architecture to respond to the new needs for ruin interventions.1Thesis Statement.Today, ruins are produced more quickly than ever before because of rapid urban development and social upheaval (Rueda, 2015). On one hand, energy consumption and material waste have become big concerns for building demolition and construction (Petzet & Heilmeyer, 2012), on the other hand, structures are being abandoned and allowed to deteriorate, which causes tons of unnecessary waste. Approaches to reusing derelict buildings with minimal intervention are much more promising than restoration. However, many ruins have been or are on the brink of being lost due to the slow speed at which funding for preservation can be acquired. Therefore, full restoration is no longer a widely feasible solution to trace memories in ruined structures.This research emphasizes the new aesthetics and functions of ruins established in recent years. Unlike the medieval period when follies were built to recall old civilization, ruins now are unique and surprising places to explore, or fashionable settings in entertainment and visual industries. Through a photographer’s lens, the mystery, nostalgia, and symbolism of ruins are revealed and appreciated by many people.Categorization of ruin types and the reasons for them to be abandoned will perform as an introduction of ruins in the contemporary world. Further analysis will be broken down into time, connection, aesthetics and materiality of ruins to layout the research findings on how ruins are perceived and expressed today. The uses and effects of ruins will provide more details to explain the problems and discover future possibilities of ruins. The site analysis will reflect some of the research outcomes. Case studies will be a transition from research into the application of ruin intervention, integrated with commentary on design opportunities and strategies. Finally, the essay will conclude with a work plan for the entire graduate project.Urban explorers are an active group of people concerned with ruins and sharing adequate information accessible online about ruins. Their sharing provides a big database for people interested in ruins and affects how they think about ruins today.  Therefore, by browsing information posted by urban explorers online and studying their behavior and thoughts, one can gain insight into how this concerned group sees ruins today. My visits to ruins in Georgia provoked my interest in the topic, so the photos, videos, and notes taken during the trip have helped to guide my research and inspired my commentary on the project. Literature reviews looking at ruins in a bigger context are also significant in understanding ruins generally and theoretically.Overall, the growth of urban exploration and post-apocalyptic themes in the entertainment industry is affecting how the public sees ruins, resulting in an increase in their overall acceptance. Considering the functionality and expense, new landscape-based strategies balancing between preservation and decay should be examined to reactivate derelict space efficiently.Introduction: Ruins and Decay.“We are enthralled by modern ruins for a plethora of reasons, not least because they inspire in us a rational paranoia that taps into our own eventual demise - both individual and, more importantly, collective… modern ruins arouse both despair and fascination, a fascination with our own death and a tangible image of the precise form it will take. They remind us, in a very sublime way, of the inevitability of human extinction, refocusing the terrain of ‘ruin’ away from the ancient world and towards the imminent future. “(Lyons, 2018, p. 1-2)3Ruins are the products of time and sometimes disasters in our long history dating back thousands of years. While, this project focuses on modern ruins built in and after the 1900s, when modernist architecture rose up, and technological development and mass production in construction started to rule our built environment. Ruins before that should be discussed in a different context where the high archaeological and historical value make them treasures for the entire world. Their significance and fame make it more promising for the neighborhood to be adopted as tourist attractions instead of incorporated with local uses. Therefore, this project is exploring the situation of modern ruins in a regional context encountering urban development and economic issues.Ruins are artifacts that are normally unoccupied and derelict, decaying or destroyed to a degree at which its original functions or spatial quality can hardly be provided, or are provided in too poor of a state for daily use. According to Roth, “the word ruin has its origins in the idea of falling” (Roth, 1997, p. 1). Falling may refer to the collapse of a physical object, or the falling of a golden state or era. Unfinished and unoccupied artifacts failed to provide the functions they intended to have can also be defined as ruins, such as the Blue Hospital in Bugojno, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Frank, 2015). The boundary between vacant structures and ruins seem vague in this case, but a clearer way to differentiate them is that vacant buildings usually only need cleaning or simple repair before reuse, while ruins tend to have safety issues and require examination, renovation, or even reconstruction for reuse. Even in a ruined state, some structures can still be used for temporary activities, for example, holding a concert in the ruins in Palmyra (The Economist Group Limited, 2016). But the ruins do not serve people in this way on a daily basis or are altered to hold such events. Many ruins nowadays are turned into tourist attractions with their current degraded conditions preserved. In this case, even though they are frequently visited by tourists and their surroundings have been renovated to accommodate new uses, the degradation still indicates that they are ruins. Many ruins of this type are titled “heritage” because they catch scientists’ and scholars’ interest and recognition in their historical value.In architecture, Hans Dieter Schaal defined ruins as buildings which are “dilapidated or destroyed and … no longer fit for use - shelter and human habitation” (Schaal, 2011, p. 7). It is a suitable way to distinguish ruins from the rest in many cases, but modern ruins are getting more complex than that. Some ruins are habitable for marginalized people today, but they are still called ruins as this kind of habitation is not taken as their formal use.    Defining ruins4There are three reasons for landscape architects to be interested in modern ruins:1. Mass consumption and rapid social change cause ruins to be produced much more quickly than before (Göbel, 2015), and create a large amount of unnecessary waste (Petzet & Heilmeyer, 2012).2. Modern ruins reveal how fragile capitalism can be (Stones, 2016; Lyons, 2018). Even though some of the modern ruins are titled as heritage sites, they still do not have funds for maintenance or restoration (Niebyl, 2016).3. Continuous urban development also gives people a sense of disconnection from the surroundings and the past, which can lead to the loss of local identity (Garrett, 2009).Based on these phenomena that ruins reveal about modern society, this project aims to research design opportunities for landscape architects facing the situations. The foci include:1. Justify the roles of ruins and landscape architects in a contemporary context. The value of ruins not only lies in its recording of the past. As Lyons states, ruins today carry a much heavier responsibility as predictions for the future, because of the rise of people’s consciousness and worries about contemporary social development based on anthropocentrism (Lyons, 2018). Therefore, more and more people are trying to visualize the approaching danger for human society through visiting ruins. Landscape architects should be aware of people’s changing attitude towards urban ruins and understand how the general public view and feel about them.According to Kindynis, urban exploration is the entering of inaccessible places, often off-limits or abandoned architectures, whose position has grown rapidly in recent years through web-based media (Kindynis, 2017). It is a phenomenon worth studying for this research because urban explorers share information online and build up forums providing a large database for ruins around the world (Stones, 2016). Instead of restricting access to reports to a limited number of professionals, the information is publicly accessible. This increases engagement and shapes how the general public perceives urban ruins. Research on the frequent appearance of ruins on screen and in photos today can tell people’s feelings about ruins and what they are trying to express through re-creations of ruins. Even people who do not specifically care about ruins can be affected by these prevailing expressions in the entertainment and visual industries, and this re-creation seems to make decay more acceptable for and appreciated by people.2. Develop affordable and scalable landscape-based interventions on ruins. A part of the landscape architects’ job is to educate the public and make it a more friendly and accessible discipline for non-professionals. Providing guidance to the residents and communities how they may reuse ruins at a low cost is a way responding to the economic problems many ruined areas have. To revive an urban area in a traditional large-scale demolition and renovation mode can be economically difficult. Obtaining integrated effect through several small-scale projects is argued as a more organic and economical way today (BAITASIREMADE, n.d.).3. Explore design strategies for ruins ranging from preservation to decay. Architectural works are in their premier state the moment after they are built. However, landscape architecture accommodates changes     Factors and opportunities5in time, like the growth of plants and decline of contamination. Hands and Weller also said, “For architecture time spells ruination, whereas for landscape architecture time is welcomed as growth.” (Hands & Weller, 2018, p. 5) When architectures are abandoned or poorly functional, landscape architects have the opportunity to step in and incorporate the revitalization of ruined structures into the discipline allowing these structures more dignified endings which respect the natural processes of degradation, or preservation for later generations.1 Interactions between ruins and the people who live nearby should also be encouraged to reduce the feeling of disconnection from their surroundings and maintain the identity of the site.      Based on these key points, the outcomes of this project will include strategies to activate ruins in an efficient way which respond to the contemporary aesthetics and situations of ruins.1 See Roth (1997), especially page 1 where he says, “ruins must remain exposed to these forces in order to have their full effect on the beholder, but they must also be protected from them if they are to sur vive for us as ruins”.6    Ruin types190019502000Industrial sites Public sites Residential sites Leisure sites Infrastructure Military sites Monuments Vehicles1950s1943Maunsell Army Sea Forts, EnglandAirbase,ŽeljavaBosnia andHerzegovina Colbert, FranceFrench CruiserHotel Igman, Bosnia and Herzegovina19931982War: FirePower Station, England19571999 Closure:Industry PolicyMonument19782000Vandalism:Bomb1977201119811992WillingtonDisaster: Hurricane1940196819811989 1991195619921968194519421975192519861970s190819562005200019271956Platform, ScotlandBrent Delta  Closure:Production StopClosure:Population DeclineCity Methodist Church, United StatesDisaster: ExplosionHospital MsCh-126, UkraineClosure:Population DeclineGhost Town Kolmanskop, NamibiaCape Romano Dome House,United StatesSix Flags New Orleans, United StatesDisaster: HurricaneAbandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, United StatesDisuse Rochester Subway, United StatesDisuseThe Atlantic Wall, NormandyWar: GunfireDecommissionMonument, BulgariaBuzludzhaDisuse:Political Changeto the Battle of theWounded, Bosnia and HerzegovinaDestruction DecommissionFigure 1. Diagram of dif ferent types of modern ruins, including construction year, abandonment year and the reason for abandonment7190019502000Industrial sites Public sites Residential sites Leisure sites Infrastructure Military sites Monuments Vehicles1950s1943Maunsell Army Sea Forts, EnglandAirbase,ŽeljavaBosnia andHerzegovina Colbert, FranceFrench CruiserHotel Igman, Bosnia and Herzegovina19931982War: FirePower Station, England19571999 Closure:Industry PolicyMonument19782000Vandalism:Bomb1977201119811992WillingtonDisaster: Hurricane1940196819811989 1991195619921968194519421975192519861970s190819562005200019271956Platform, ScotlandBrent Delta  Closure:Production StopClosure:Population DeclineCity Methodist Church, United StatesDisaster: ExplosionHospital MsCh-126, UkraineClosure:Population DeclineGhost Town Kolmanskop, NamibiaCape Romano Dome House,United StatesSix Flags New Orleans, United StatesDisaster: HurricaneAbandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, United StatesDisuse Rochester Subway, United StatesDisuseThe Atlantic Wall, NormandyWar: GunfireDecommissionMonument, BulgariaBuzludzhaDisuse:Political Changeto the Battle of theWounded, Bosnia and HerzegovinaDestruction DecommissionRuins “Around” Us.An investigation into the entertainment industry will begin to uncover how ruins are portrayed in a contemporary context. Examples from modern photography and recreation activities will also show how close ruins are to our daily lives while many of us are not aware of it.9Ruins often appear in movies and video games with post-apocalyptic themes.Apocalyptic dramas produced in recent decades continue to increase in number (Nicholson, 2015). The fever for apocalypse reflects people’s worries for our future and self-examination about what we think and are doing now. The triggers for disasters differ, but most crises are familiar to us, like the panic for global warming in the Day After. In these films, our current cityscapes become the remnants of the past1, indicating the stories are imaginations or prophecies based on real life. There are also ruins in futuristic films which symbolize the old wisdom and reminiscence of the past golden civilization. This is exemplified in Blade Runner 2049 and Equilibrium, comparing the traditional with hypothetic living styles to provoke thinking about the path that we should take for our future.Video games like the Last of Us depict post-apocalyptic worlds where people need to fight for survival. In contrast to the cruel and desolate human world, nature takes the chance to thrive, which points to “the future evoking the hope for a better version of human society and a more natural version of the world” (Kirschbacher, 2018, p. 213).How ruins are presented on screen is more than a mere aesthetic impression, it affects how we see and experience ruins in real life. Those visions on screen influence how we depict events and tragedies in reality now, as the creation of immersive experience is taken into developing a virtual tour of Chernobyl.2 The merging of the virtual world and reality should become a point of investigation in Landscape Architecture.    Ruins and fictionFigure 4. Chernobyl VR Project (The Farm 51 Group SA, 2016)Figure 3. Ruined city in the Last of Us (Naughty Dog, 2013)Figure 2. Ruins of Las Vegas in Blade Runner 2049 (Villeneuve, 2017)10Ruins and ruined looks also appear when displaying products, especially furniture, which was unlikely to be appreciated decades ago. It seems easy to add personality, complexity, and depth to photos or designs by adding a sense of decay to the objects or background settings.In the Pipeline project, Christophe Machet set the background for his chairs in ruins to correspond to the transformation of old sewage pipes into new furniture, and explained that the project is trying to be “environmentally conscious and open to the powers of imagination” (Yalcinkaya, 2018). The ruined setting strengthens the story of the project because ruins are taken as poor conditions but full of potential to become something interesting and unexpected. In some cases, ruins give the objects on display an old-school technological sense and show its inspiration from industrial technology.3 They are also suitable to represent a lost past or dying technique used in the products.4 A simple and playful design idea can look more thought-provoking by layering an indication of passed time in such a setting.5 Jean Paul Gaultier, a French designer, also used this idea to decorate chairs with rust-like fabric6 and gives it a sense of artistic impression distinguishing them from common furniture.Some miniature artists also like to wear their small models out in order to make them look as if they are real scenes in the world instead of crafted reproductions. In this case, decay is adding liveness and authenticity to inanimate objects to activate the “space”. As degradation can be mimicked in different ways with different techniques, it allows the artists to show their skills, creativity, and personality in their works.Ruins are more than images or objects, they contain unique stories and can convey rich     Ruins and designinformation. Landscape architects should be careful about the personality and senses they express when the projects involve ruins.Figure 5. The Pipeline chairs were photographed in ruins (Machet, 2018)Figure 6. The Typographia chairs are covered in rust-like fabric (Gall, 2016)Figure 7. Crumbling miniature librar y made by artist Lori Nix (Nix, 2013)11We can also see ruins in portraits and fashion photos, which tell us how people situate themselves in ruins.The decay of buildings seems to foreshadow the end of people, who cannot resist the power of time which forces them to age and eventually perish. In fashion photography, degraded structures as backgrounds create strong contrasts with well-dressed models. These contrasts question the position of people when facing ruins and reveal the situation of people: lost or confident, melancholy or arrogant in front of the remnants of human civilization. Even though lively creatures and still structures are contrary, they have an inner connection, which is to perish at the end. What is worse, humans tend to live shorter lives than many of their creations. This fact highlights the ephemerality of human beings compared to the long-standing artifacts making the presence of people even more precious and lively in the photographs.The sense of degradation and incompletion in space also intrigues contemporary designers. Pure and rough construction materials reinforce the raw power of the structure and strike people as a bare stage for infinite possibilities and interpretation. For a young studio like Studio 11, the faded painting and uneven surfaces of their office make its history seem longer and create an impression of an experienced and trustable team with attitude (Frearson, 2018). A more intriguing example is Taizhou Contemporary Art Museum, where the architect took the finished concrete shell as the perfect state of this building; and the time when the building only belongs to him rather than the public (Liu & Yin, 2018). The architect’s thoughts show how ruins provoke the feeling of loneliness and sublimes easily. Interestingly, the building shell already held several gatherings and activities. An artist and a photographer both chose to shoot     Ruins and peoplethemselves half-naked there. People’s souls are often depicted as pure and naked entities. The rawness of the building arouses the pureness of people and pushes them to face and return to their inner selves. The power of imperfection stimulates communal feelings appreciated by people, which are impulses to inquire about the origins of humans and objects. Landscape architects should handle the atmosphere properly when ruins become the site and stage for human activities.Figure 8. Fashion photo shot in front of ruins (Guler, n.d.)Figure 9. Dancer standing inside the unfinished Taizhou Contemporar y Art Museum (Yin, 2018)12Urban exploration has become more and more popular as a form of recreation. Urban explorers enter derelict sites and record their experience, but it also goes beyond simply a hedonistic act as it stimulates “deeper understandings of urban environments by going under their skin” (Cushing, Kilmister, & Scott, 2018, p. 172). The contribution of urban explorers is valuable in preserving urban history. As what Cushing, Kilmister, and Scott described:It documents current states and uses, and shapes the impressions and emotions of viewers who may never visit the locations themselves. Taken together, the images, videos and accompanying text constitute amateur online archives, preserving for the heritage and memory of otherwise undocumented abandoned places more effectively than public archival institutions with their broad mandates and limited funds. (Cushing et al., 2018, p. 173)The large database created by urban explorers allows stories and images of ruins to be publicly accessible and has a huge impact on how people see ruins. Ideally, this activity could “lead people to think differently about the past and present of abandoned buildings and their possible futures” (Cushing et al., 2018, p. 177). This commentary brings up the use of ruins as a source of revelation about our future as mentioned before. The “artistic impression” (Bentley, 2018, p. 181) of decay is always the outcome of urban exploration, and the appreciation of ruins is expressed through it. These impressions, including videos, photos and texts, influence many Internet users today. The popularity of urban exploration shows how people see and interact with the cityscape, which requires landscape designers to incorporate the sense of discovery, risk and adventure into design interventions for ruins.    Ruins and recreationFigure 11. Urban explorers sometimes use dramatic lighting to photograph ruins (Yang, 2014)Figure 10. Photos of abandoned malls ask people to rethink about modern consumption (Lawless, 2014)It documents current states and , nd shapes the impressions and e  f vi wers who may never visit the l i ns thems lves. Taken together, the i s, videos and accompanying tex  constitu  amateur online archives, preserving for the heritage and memory of otherwise undocumented abandoned plac s more effect vely than public archival institutio s with their broad mandates and imited funds. (Cushing et al., 2018, p. 173)131 See Kirschbacher (2018), especially page 211 where he says, “remains of human constructions in the future post-apocalyptic world are unscathed in the viewers’ present as well as the film’s or series’ pre-apocalyptic past”.2 See Bentley (2018), for more details about the technological development of Chernobyl vir tual tour.3 For example, see Treggiden (2015b), for a description for the RV1 Carbon Chair.4 For example, see Treggiden (2015a), for a description for Cones seats.5 For example, see Treggiden (2014), for a description for Embracing Touch seats.6 See Howarth (2016), for a description for Typographia chairs and rust-patterned upholster y.Figure 12. A popular Urban Exploration forum, 28 Days Later (2018)Figure 13. A video channel documenting trips exploring ruins, the Proper People 2 (2018)Ruins: Meanings and Perception.Ruins are more than tools for artistic expression, there are theoretical explanations behind how people feel and think about them.15Ruins are something from the past, the marks of degradation record their experience and tell their stories across time. While ancient ruins encourage people to discover and reproduce the past, contemporary ruins are important media for us to look into the future. To imagine our recession and endings is thrilling but also fascinating as an excuse to escape from everyday routine collectively (Lyons, 2018).Beyond the desire for a new and different life, the obsession of decay reflects people’s acceptance of a finite future (Lyons, 2018). The rapid development of technology and society occurring now is a source of pride for people, but its side effects bring deep worries that our arrogance and the revenge of nature will lead us to a destructive future, and ruins depict the image for us. Under these circumstances, except for the power to bring the past and future to us, ruins touch people deeply by engaging the present. Ruins give us a safe distance to view the destruction that happened or may happen in other times, just like appreciating antiques in the museum and tracing their stories through their dilapidation.1As objects originally built for shelter or memorial, the scale of ruins always provides visitors a certain spatial quality. The effects of ruins are even stronger when “the fusion of time and space” is seen (Lyons, 2018, p. 3).    TimeFigure 14. Metaphor of past, present and future16Something intangible has been lost through the constant development and sanitisation of urban spaces, with the consequence that individuals feel disconnected from the people and places which surround them, and are similarly distanced from the past. (Stone, 2016, p. 303)Today, buildings are abandoned or replaced by new constructions so rapidly that people sometimes do not have enough time to build a strong connection with the neighborhood. Pristine architectures can hardly blend into the surroundings when they barely have any trace of human use, thus disconnecting them from the neighborhood.Degraded buildings tend to leave more traces of the past then demolished and sometimes even renovated ones, which creates a stronger “sense of place or connection with the local community” (Stone, 2016, p. 303). Even though decay is seldom appreciated in daily lives, the authenticity of the old memory it reveals and the current state of structures it presents can hardly be denied. The authentic presentation is more informational and powerful than a replication or reconstruction.How strong a connection ruins can build between individuals and local memory is separated from the communal evaluation of the place. Every old architecture has a long story to tell. The value of these past stories does not lie in how magnificent they are, because every story is unique. With or without the title of heritage, the bonds between the local and the ruins barely change. So, landscape architects should not only understand the value of ruins as an outsider, but also value held from the position of the local.Contemporary ruins also give psychological     Connectionresonance to outsiders. That is because ruins can be interpreted differently by different people. There are no standard criteria to explain every detail on ruins because of the loss of information through time, leaving space for personal imagination.2 This also explains why ruins can be used in many artistic expressions. The incompletion of ruins leaves many blank spots and openings, making them so complicated, meaningful, and personal as Stone states, “[we] identify meaning in our current experience whilst maintaining historical perspective as the viewer of the physical remnants of history” (Stone, 2016, p. 304).3Something intangible has been l r ugh the constant development and sani sati n of urban spaces, with th  consequence that individuals fe l disconnected from the peopl  and places which surround them, and are similarly distanc d from the past. (Stone, 2016, p. 303)Figure 15. Overlay of past, present and imagination17The mystery, stories, and atmosphere that ruins offer are usually distant from people’s daily life. The details of ruins can enrich and ground our imagination for a hypothetical reality, explaining why urban explorers describe photographing ruins as a way to create illusions and express dreams.4 Even though they may be manipulated in photographs5, the objects appearing in ruins tend to be mysterious, symbolic and storytelling. A typical example is that a chair placed randomly in an unusual place6 often evokes viewers’ curiosity and even profound thinking.In the eighteenth century Picturesque gardens, ruins are romantic features recalling passed golden times. They were produced as broken follies in a chosen position to create a beautiful layout for the landscape. Most modern ruins are not created on purpose, but the idea of composing them from the right spot still exist. While picturesque ruins are appreciated as visual elements in the whole landscape, the beauty in details and interior of modern ruins are explored much more than the old days. The experience of walking in, touching and being surrounded by ruins becomes important for visitors today.    AestheticsFigure 16. Urban explorer and photographer David de Rueda’s photo featured a red hair girl in ruins (Rueda, 2013)Figure 17. A fake ruin built in the 18th centur y in Chambourcy, France (n.d.)18Plants are not parts of the materials making up ruins, but the invasion of plants may declare that the structures they occupy have become ruins. As described by Kirschbacher, it is a classic scene in post-apocalyptic fictions when “plants cracking walls or covering entire residential houses”, indicating “the perishability of humans and their creations” (Kirschbacher, 2018, p. 212). For architecture, plants may not be a construction material, but in the discipline of landscape architecture, planting material is often an important component of a project.Newly built architectures often conjure images of brand new, young and unscathed objects. However, they tend to give a sense of strangeness, untouchability, blankness, and distance, while the oldness of objects contains humanity, intimacy, and warmth. The worn-out marks indicate the interactions that the old objects have with their surrounding environment and users, and the random marks also create a casual and relaxing feeling for people to touch them. The surface of ruins can be fragmented, dirty or dusty, which gives a gloomy feeling hardly seen in actively growing urban areas. Urban residents may need this feeling to calm themselves in the fast pace of life.    MaterialityFigure 18. Plants invading into a disused greenhouse in France (Kerwin, 2016)Figure 19. Weathered steel panels used in the Owl Creek Residence in Snowmass, United States (Reck, 2018)191 See Lyons (2018), page 2, “Ruin porn is so compelling precisely because it is a bewildering form of time travel to the future within the present. It allows us to view, as if in a museum, something uncompromisingly real and consequential, but without having to engage completely with the dire consequences it realistically provokes. It offers an image of our own death while we are still alive.”2 See Woodward (2001), page 32, “Ruins … inspire a variety of responses … [as] each spectator is forced to supply the missing pieces from his or her own imagination … a ruin therefore appears dif ferently to ever yone.”3 Also see Woodward (2001), page 2, “when we contemplate ruins, we contemplate our own future.”4 See Rueda (2015) and Inhiu (2016), for their experience and thinking as urban explorers.5 See Bentley (2018), especially page 184-185, for descriptions and discussion on photographers displacing objects in ruins for better shots.6 See Aroutiounova et al (2016).Ruins: Present Situations.21Salvage Steel salvage is a serious problem amongst abandoned structures which accelerates their destruction dramatically (COMUS, 2016), especially in developing areas. Vandalism tends to consume constructions much quicker than natural degrading processes. In the Blue Hospital, people sold the steel from the unfinished building to earn a living (Frank, 2015), as did people in Chiatura where low wages and limited job opportunities force people to find extra income (Boys, 2015). The Technical College Auditorium is a serious example showing the severe damage to cultural remnants inflicted by people and how the neglect of local authorities made it hard to protect potential cultural heritage.For developing areas, what something can do for people now is needed more than it in the past or future, which may explain the psychology factors behind salvaging abandoned buildings. Vandalism should not be encouraged, but it is happening widely. To solve it may not be as complex as some people may imagine. Demonstrating how the building can be of more value as a whole than salvaged for money can be effective, because most buildings are more useful to people when they function to support various programs than being scrapped for materials. Citizens are much less likely to demolish something in use, proposing for useful programs that could take place on site in the near future can be more effective than educational words only.    ProblemsFigure 20. A local man standing in front of the unfinished Blue Hospital after a day of salvaging rebar (Frank, 2015)22Urban ExplorationExploring abandoned sites may require trespassing (Stones, 2016). Safety is also a big concern for such an activity which includes seeking challenges and adventures in derelict structures. Ruin photographs are criticized as ways to view the destruction in a safe distance, and their photographers are often indifferent to the real problems behind the scenes (Lyons, 2018). This dates back to the long history of romanticizing decay through art in western culture and altering the authenticity of ruins for better photographs. But for landscape interventions, a certain level of alteration for aesthetics and functionality are often necessary, which is different from documentary photography. Self-expression should be allowed to strengthen the connection between ruins and people. Ruins belong to professional researchers, but also to the greater public.CapitalismRuins signal threats to the expansion of the human world, when we lose control of degrading regions and the track of humans is erased. In modern ruins, “the fragility of capitalism” (Lyons, 2018, p.4) summarizes the situation of ruins concisely as financial issues are the main factors for buildings being abandoned and often contribute to the difficulty in sparking reuse.1 Significant investment always comes with an assessment of the value of the project. But for contemporary ruins, their state as unusable spaces for the neighborhood or visitors is more problematic than the neglection their cultural or economic values. For places that are less likely to be titled as heritage sites2, large funds are hard to get approved in order to improve the neighborhood. Relying on one single enormous project to change a ruined region was not always reliable today, but more “informal and populist solutions” have gained some achievements in changing decayed neighborhood as discussed in Cushing’s research (Cushing et al., 2018, p. 176). The long periods of waiting for investment and redevelopment may result in missed opportunities for preserving degrading heritages and increase costs for reoccupation. What is worse, changes may happen when processing the funds and the project can be canceled any time as high investment always comes with high risk.323For displaced peopleRuins in Tskaltubo are special because many of them were resorts or hotels which were designed to accommodate upper-class people. Whereas today they are used as dwellings for refugees and homeless people. This contrast between classes is fascinating, but there are still differences in uses of these grand architectures. Rooms are reused as units for different families, but the common space is usually neglected. The lack of maintenance in shared areas creates an interesting combination of situations for them, as a part of the building is in ruin while the rest is not.    UsesFor neighborhoodsUnder the launching platform of a cable car station, a photograph shows a decayed station being used as a shelter for a temporary market. Being abandoned does not mean the building is disappearing from people’s lives. Encounters or interactions may occur. Under these circumstances, local people are better in discovering what they actually need and how ruins can serve them.In Borjomi, ruins were found in a tranquil forested area. There were a few people passing by and taking a walk around derelict buildings in the forest. The interaction does not have to happen indoors. Going by these constructions is also unconsciously influential for the neighbors.When I visited the abandoned Technical College Auditorium in Tbilisi, a few children were playing around the building. It was surprising to see the ruined building as a part of their playground not different from others. They rode their bikes into the dark floor, laughing and shouting fearlessly, even followed us and asked where we were from. I realized that ruins are parts of their daily lives, to distinguish them from others clearly was my desire as someone from a place where ruins are not as common.24For outsidersA music festival was once held in the Pioneer Palace. The goal was to show that a small town like Chiatura is also able to offer cultural life to its people, and even attract people from other areas. Concerts or events of other kinds can also fit into ruins set up as backgrounds.For people pursuing uniqueness, ruins are great for ceremony photos, especially graduate and wedding ceremonies, by creating a strong contrast with people’s fine clothes. It is worth noticing that sometimes ruins are chosen on purpose, but they may be chosen for their unique architectural style and just happen to be in ruins.Urban exploration as an “investigation of and experiences with abandoned sites” is educational in “lead[ing] people to think differently about the past and present of abandoned buildings and their possible futures” (Cushing et al., 2018, p. 177). Ruins are stages for urban exploration, except for historical archive and artistic re-creation, the desire for adventure and discovery are also the main motivations for the participants (Cushing et al., 2018).For animalsI have seen many ruins in Georgia half-surrounded by forest or meadow. When I walked into a hotel ruin in Borjomi, the sound of bells echoed inside and I found more than one cow wondering around on the floors. The pasture was just behind the ruin, and the bells outside ringed together to play a piece of music surrounding around. The cows also left their waste inside the ruins, which may accelerate the rate at which plants colonize the space.25For plantsThe invasion of plants is always a typical feature of ruins. It is a natural process and symbolizes the collapse of human order. The vitality of plants also indicates the hope for life and is appreciated together with ruins. Even though the species taking up artifacts can be invasive and aggressive, the coexistence of human and nature tends to look harmonious.1 See diduhuiBJ (2018), for situations of abandoned structures in Beijing.2 For example, see Cushing et al. (2018), especially page 173, for the development of the former Frogy’s site.3 See Niebyl (2016) and Harris (2018). The spomenik at Makljen and Willington Power Station are typical examples of canceled and delayed renovation projects.Precedents and Design Strategies.27    Baitasi Remade    Beijing Tsinghua University and World Architecture magazine, 2015 – nowBaitasi District is a historic district full of traditional residential houses in Beijing, China. Many of the old houses are ruined due to poor maintenance, and the layout of the district becomes chaotic after years of alteration made by the residents. Since 2015, various activities aim to bring new life into the district have been presented in Beijing Design Week.Design Strategies:OrganizationBaitasi Remade is an urban renewal program led by Beijing Tsinghua University and World Architecture magazine. Supported by the government, it invites designers around the world to participate and has become an important venue for Beijing Design Week. It is a testing ground for a wide range of renovation ideas, and various design styles can be found here. The engagement of different sectors of the society is a key to its success. Using popular social platforms for online brand making and to broadcast upcoming activities also shows how effective these collaborative strategies can be in contemporary design projects.ProgrammingFigure 21. Baitasi District is one of the last remaining traditional residential areas in the core of Beijing (Baitasi Remade, n.d.)Figure 23. Photography competition held to archive and activate Baitasi distric (Baitasi Remade, 2017)Figure 22. Amenities of social games are installed in the courtyard as an update of past communal life (Torino, 2017)28incorporation of online and offline activities shows how effective design programming can be and is worth learning. Landscape designers should be aware of the changing technology and social environment to look for useful design tools.Budget-savingSmall-scale renovation is believed to be more economical and promising to preserve the historical identity for a big district. Construction disturbance to the entire neighborhood can be minimized, the various projects come together to induce comprehensive change to the area.Hermitage Museum is an example of modern museums expanding uncontrollably, making it too expensive for maintenance and renovation. Therefore, OMA proposed to use decayed rooms as gallery space in this project and argued to preserve their dilapidation responding to the country’s turbulent history. The proposal cuts down the cost for restoration and creates impressive aesthetics presenting an authentic spirit of the past.PlacementThrough placing furniture and art installations Figure 25. Rendering of a sculpture placed in an unrestored galler y room in Herimitage (OMA, 2014)Figure 24. Official website of Renew Newcastle, activites and projects are posted up-to-date (Renew Newcastle, 2018)The project not only focuses on the renovation, but also holding events including workshops, book fairs, art shows, markets, and decryption games to bring visitors to the district. Various community activities are hosted to activate the neighborhood. The Miccro-Temple Fair presenting traditional performances, food, artworks, and craftsmanship is held to preserve local culture and encourage communications among residents. Baita Reception Room displays the neighbors’ works, offers care services, lectures, temporary theaters, and hosts community gatherings. Collecting stories from the residents and holding photograph competition also play significant roles in archiving the history and memory of the district.Renew Newcastle is a successful project turning abandoned neighborhood into a commercial and cultural district. Vacant buildings are redistributed to artists and small business for occupation and attract visitors by hosting public exhibitions, classes, festivals and building outlets. The website for this project is well-managed to announce activities and introduce new studios moving in. The interviews posted online help the coming business owners to be accepted by the community more quickly. The 29in shared laneways and courtyards, derelict space is activated and used by both outsiders and residents. It is hard to define whether ruins are the sites, the backgrounds, or the objects for those interventions. The ambiguity and complexity in defining the relationships between ruins and new interventions allow viewers to interpret them differently. There are also various ways to create brand new space around ruins.In Shangwei Village Plugin House, a prefabricated new house is inserted into a ruined structure not to influence the adjacent buildings. The ruin shell, as the second layer of skin for the new structure, is left untouched and encloses the courtyards. Z Gallery features a series of steel rooms sitting on the ground of a ruined factory. The ruin seems to be a big community embracing the rooms and providing public space to interweave them together. Both projects show how ruins can accommodate new space without renovation and create a unique spirit on the site. To restore Badaevskiy Brewery, new buildings floating on top are proposed. The brewery and its relationships with the surroundings are respected in this way and overlaid with the new structures supported by stilts. The London Wall Palace project shows how sittings and elevated pathways can be built around ruins to create a modern urban public space with a sense of history. Unlike the former ones, these two projects show how ruins “survive” and blend into modern context. The experience can change dramatically by placing ruins differently, so the spatial arrangements for the new and the old need to be carefully justified based on the design concept.Figure 26. Exterior of Shangwei Village Plugin House surrounded by ruins (Zhan, 2018)Figure 27. People relax around the ruins in the pocket park in London Wall Place (Ferrera, 2018)30Located in Duisburg-Meiderich, Germany, Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord is a 180-hectare public park restored from the Thyssen Ironworks in 1991.Design Strategies:ExposureUnlike many cultural heritage projects aiming at carefully preserving the relics, Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord focuses more on the present use of the remnants and confidently shows the degradation of ruins. Allowing people to trace the passing of time is important for them to understand the process of decay and the formation of ruins. To convey the history of the site, Latz thinks it is important to have natural weathering continue happening in some structures.1 This idea raises a question worth considering: is it preserving the history to stop the degradation of ruins, or leave them to natural processes and keep adding new history to them? Time is a key in restoration projects. How to balance the past, the present and the future should be carefully considered based on the design concept and site conditions.Interaction    Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord    Peter Latz, 1991The most innovative and inspiring part of the project is the change from industrial ruins into an adventure playground. Latz’s design emphasizes discovering and imagining possible uses of the abandoned structures for people nowadays, but is criticized by the irrelevance of their recreation uses to the history (Chan, 2012). The recreational functions encourage interactions between people and ruins. In this way, the ruins become parts of people’s daily lives instead of merely a medium for telling old stories. To experience and memorize the past, engaging with it is always stronger than viewing. It is a great reference in demonstrating how to balance keeping the ruined features for historical values and renovating to encourage human activities.Planting for aestheticsPlanting is an effective way to brighten up abandoned places. Latz allows some plants to grow wild but also has a formal planting design which builds a clear spatial organization. The formal style seems to represent modern civilization and responds to the present practical functions Latz emphasizes on. Plants are also used to cover unwanted scenes. Some of the remaining walls are used as planting Figure 28. Both formal and informal planting is used in Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord (Wohlrab, n.d.)Figure 29. Plants in Ninfa Garden are carefuly designed but look natural (Accessible Italian Holiday Group, n.d.)31beds in the park, which softens the dark and rough structures. Gas Works Park is also highly regarded for creating an undulating lawn for people to play and rest. But both projects are criticized for hiding the history of contamination from visitors. The authenticity of ruins seems to be lost in this way.The Garden of Ninfa is known for its romantic features as ornamental trees and flowers growing around a ruined medieval town. The plants grow naturally among the ruins are carefully designed but still give visitors a natural feel. The vegetation also adds vitality to ruins, which is contrast to the town’s tragic past. The perfect images of plants leaning or climbing on the ruins seem to be created by the miracle of nature, but the human-influential beauty makes the garden a delicate fantasy than a natural landscape.Figure 30. Rusty iron panels are used for the stage in Piazza Metallica in Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord (Liedtke, 2011)Figure 31. Industrial structures are changed into climbing walls in Landscape Park Duisburg-Nord (Latz, 2011)32Side Effect is a pocket park in Bat Yam, Israel, restored from an abandoned industrial building. The site is about 2,000 square meters with a 300-square-meter building structure on it. This project is a strong advocate for the right of other species to occupy the site after it was abandoned, and portrays how people living in the neighborhood coexist with those species in a mutually beneficial way.Design Strategies:Planting for cost-efficiencyLotan took ruins as the “side effect” of urban development, for which people often ignore their responsibility. Thus, the site was taken over by wild animals and invasive plants. Lotan views the appearance of the site before renovation as its origin more than the older history written on paper, which is an effective way to discover the potential of ruins for current use. As such, the park preserves the current habitat for wildlife as its identity seen by the local for years. The plants are not only soft materials to activate the empty space, but also tools to create spatial separation. Different plants provide different textures to decorate the building. A rich selection allows the park to have a rich     Side Effect    Amir Lotan, 2010combination of natural textures. Using invasive plants existing on site also cuts down the budget for growing and maintenance. The idea of embracing and using existing invasive plans is innovative and inspiring for other low-cost renovation projects.The Blue Hospital project proposed to change a ruined building and its surroundings into a community garden. Having a productive communal space helps to build up a sustainable and healthy community, also helps to reduce local poverty. The seasonal changes of plants are reminders of time, and contrast to the slowly degrading ruins. The changing landscape and vegetable cultivation encourage people to visit ruined sites frequently, and increase their usage.Material recyclingWith a low budget, the project was able to turn a garbage dumping ground for the locals into a place hosting community event. The most inspiring part of this project is maximizing the reuse of local materials for construction, which become site features. Debris and asphalt on site were recycled to produce soil base for plants at a low cost. The creative planting design and undulating topography attract people to sit and Figure 32. Side Effect features bright yellow walls, exposed roof structure and vigorous plants (Lotan, 2011)33play on the site.DemolitionThe site does not have high cultural significance, which encourages Lotan to be bold in the design intervention. Part of the roof was taken down for safety concerns, turning a private indoor space into a welcoming open garden. In some projects, a certain degree of demolition is used to open up space for vegetation growth. In the Ruin Academy designed by Marco Casagrande, the walls of the apartment were punctured to allow sunlight and rainwater to get in, and improve communication between the inside and outside.ColoringBright yellow painting on the interior walls ironically marks the site as a “hazardous zone” with invasive plants, which catches the attention of passers-by easily. Coloring is also a cost-efficient way to highlight the playfulness of the site and attract visitors like Superkilen in Copenhagen. Colors affect people’s emotions easily, can be informative and create strong atmospheres for the projects. They can be powerful tools for design, but should be treated carefully not to overshadow the major topic.Figure 33. The patio of the ruined building is turned into a mushroom ward in the Blue Hospital proposal (Frank, 2015)Figure 34. Walls in the Ruin Academy are punctured to grow plants inside the abandoned apartment (Casagrande, 2010)34The DoMa Gallery is renovated from a ruined barn in Baltimore County, United States. It takes up 320 square meters of the land on a historical farm, and changed the two-floor barn into a guest suite and private gallery.Design Strategies:IntegrationThis project is featured for inserting a glass box into the old wooden barn. Transparent materials, especially glass, are frequently used in renovation projects to preserve remnants from old structures but also blend them into the modern context. The transparency or translucency of materials gives objects with a rich and heavy past a sense of lightness and elegance, making them more comfortable and suitable for daily use. In this case, the combination of pristine and weathered materials finds a balance in adapting ruined structures to contemporary use.In Menokin2, glass is used to rebuild ruined structures with what remains, and be honest about which the authentic ruin pieces are. This honesty creates a special visiting experience in return as the old and new materials mix together     The DoMa Gallery      W Architecture & Landscape Architecture, 2002organically and create impressive contrast.TransparencyThe remnants of the barn, including the stone foundation and wooden wall panels, are kept as the building façade. The glass walls allow the remaining structures to be visible from both inside and outside as building features, and the sense of history is created in this way.In the Roman Bath Ruins Badenweiler3, the entire visiting space is covered with glass roof. In this case, ruins and visitors are under the same protection and the ruins are totally exposed to the visitors. It brings people close to the genuine relics and gives the fragmented ruins a sense of integrity. The glass roof isolates the space from the surroundings, but its transparency still builds a strong visual connection between the space inside and outside. Unfortunately, large glass roofs are unrealistic for many developing areas because of the high cost in purchase and maintenance.IsolationPhysically, transparent materials can isolate objects and protect them from natural weathering or human damage but also keep Figure 35. Contrast between the old and new materials in DoMa Galler y (W Architecture, 2002)Figure 36. Menokin aims to maximize the usage of the remaining structures to restore the house (Silvetti, 2015)351 See Latz (2016), especially page 240-247, for details of weathering iron slabs in Piazza Metallica.2 See Menokin Foundation (n.d.), for more description for the project.3 See Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten. (n.d.) and Markgräfler. (n.d.), for details of the project. See Domkirkeodden (n.d.) and Pilegrimssenter Hamar (n.d.) for a similar project named Hamar Cathedral Ruins.4 See The gentle author (2015), for details of the project.them visible, that is why glass is widely used in galleries and museums. Sometimes, visitors can even stand on the glass and view the ruins from above, like the medieval Charnel House in London4. However, this kind of material keeps people distant from the displayed object and weakens the sense of roughness and rawness of ruins. In this project, the glass box is inserted inside the barn and stops people from touching the wood panels and feel the textures created by time. The ruined panels are merely used as visual characteristics instead of interactive features, and the light reflection created by glass seems to destroy the sublime nature of the ruins.Figure 37. The large arching glass roof protects the Roman bath ruins in the Badenweiler (Mende, n.d.)Figure 38. Glass panels seperate people inside from the wooden skin of the DoMa Galler y (W Architecture, 2002)Site Analysis: Chiatura.37Figure 39. Georgia is located in Eastern Europe, Chiatura lies in the middle of GeorgiaFigure 40. Chiatura is a town located in a valley with the Qvirila River and a railway going through (Carly, 2018)38Figure 43. An European-style building in the city center in Chiatura (Napora, 2018)Figure 41. Central Cableway Station in Chiatura in 1973, taken down in 2017 (Zhozhuashvili, 1973 )Figure 45. Fruit stalls along street in Chiatura suffering from low employment rate (Carly, 2018)Figure 42. Townscape of Chiatura in 1975, when the central cableway lines were still in use (Zhozhuashvili, 1975 )Figure 44. A typical old apartment building and cableway station on the hill in Chiatura (Bourdin, 2017)Figure 46. Bridge on the Qvirila River polluted by industrial production (Fieber, 2013)39[T]he city of Chiatura is situated in the [middle-]west Georgia, in the narrow valley of the Qvirila River and Chiatura plateau at 350-500 metres above the sea level. Chiatura has been mentioned in historical sources since 1879, and acquired the status of a town in 1917. As of the year of 2016, population of the town equals to 12,800 persons. (COMUS, 2016, p. 4)Chiatura is known for its manganese production and cable cars. The manganese extraction started in 1872, and reached its peak in 1913 when Georgia produced half of the world’s manganese. The first cableway was built in 1953, mainly to transport miners from the valley to the factories and mines on mountains. In the 1920s and 1990s, World War I and the disintegration of the Soviet Union struck the industry, causing many industrial infrastructures to be destroyed. After restoration, mining factories are still     Past and Presentoperating today but the scale of production is much smaller. Other industries, including timber and sand production, only take a small portion of the local industry. Local business, services, and agriculture consist of the rest of the major economic activities.After the Soviet Union fell, many inhabitants in Chiatura moved to the capital and the nearby town. The population is still decreasing now because of lack of professional resources for young people and the mining industry supporting the town is closing down gradually (Nikuradze, 2016). Industrial pollution is also threatening the health of residents, calling for cleaner and more sustainable development. The local authority is lacking in experience and resources to build better communities. 28% of people in Chiatura live in poverty, which requires an effective economic stimulus for the town development.1[T]he city of Chiatura s si uated in the [middle-]west G orgia, in the narrow valley of the Qvirila River and Chiatura plateau at 350-500 metres above the sea level. Chiatura has been mentioned in historical sources since 187 , and acquired the status of a town in 1917. Aof the year of 2016, population of the town equals to 12,800 persons. (COMUS, 2016, p. 4)Figure 47. Timeline of Chiatura: events and development, manganese production and population change1846Studied by Von Abich.1872Extraction of manganese started.1895Railway established.1954Ropeway launched.1917Town established.1913Zenith in ore extraction.1921Manganese oreindustry closed.1928Industry restarted.NowManganese Production (ton)47278800Population17,50012,80029,288019,58740Chiatura is mainly shaped by its geographic features. Most of the town lies in the valley along the Qvirila River. The complicated topographic changes also form its unique transportation system, creating the Soviet Union’s first passenger tramway. Today, the cable car system is still a fundamental public transportation for local residents, and is the main factor attracting tourists to Chiatura even though it barely has any tourism infrastructure. In addition to the tramway, there is also a railway goes through     TownscapeRiverContour1:20000the town and connects it with other cities to transport manganese and people.The manganese production leaves the town a variety of industrial structures distributed around. The old manufacturing style is threatened by industrial modernization, but hoped to be kept as cultural heritage.Historical architectures in the town are mainly from Soviet times in the 19th and 20th centuries. Figure 48. Topography of Chiatura41Ropeway StationRailway StationRailway RouteOperaing RopewayUnderued RopewayRegional RoadLocal RoadRopeway Station under Construction1:20000The architecture styles vary from Art Nouveau to late Modernism, filling the town with a rich cultural atmosphere. Many residential blocks are obviously affected by Modernism, while significant public buildings, like the central theater and museum, have strong European styles.In terms of natural landscape, most of the karst caves in the region remain what they were since the Paleolithic era and contain high archeological value waiting to be studied. Medieval architectures there show a harmonious combination of human construction and nature, such as Mgvimevi Monastery and Katskhi Monastery sitting on the mountains.2Figure 49. Main transportation systems in Chiatura42The town has three major types of ruins from the Soviet Union era: cable car system, industrial remnants, and public architectures. Aging and dismantling are the main factors for the deterioration of structures.The cable car system is the biggest feature in Chiatura, but most of the 17 lines are abandoned because of aging (Robinson, 2013), leaving only a few still operational. The cableway     RuinsFigure 50. Ruin distribution in ChiaturaBuilding in Bad ConditionRuinPark and Green SpaceFactory1:20000stations feature diverse architecture styles from the Soviet period, including Modernism and Brutalism from the 1970s, and form the unique and charming character of the town.3The variety and uniqueness of cable stations found across town are important infrastructures for local residents, so renovation for restoring the previous function is necessary but the original style should be kept as cultural features.43The industrial structures in the town are mainly located on the hills and along the river outside of the town center. Because of social and industrial changes, many of them are underused and ruined, but reusing the unique Soviet remnants properly could bring big opportunities for the town development.The potential for important public buildings, which are currently derelict and degrading, to be valuable spatial resources should not be ignored. Appropriate approaches to activate the feature buildings are needed as soon as possible to race against their collapse.4Figure 54. The abandoned train station in Chiatura (Huang, 2018)Figure 52. An abandoned factor y in Chiatura (n.d.)Figure 53. A cable car station with worn-out walls and a rusted cable car (L` oeil, n.d.)Figure 51. An abandoned cableway station in Chiatura (Huang, 2018)441:5000600650650600550550400450500350450400550600650700650600550500400450550500450400450500550500 450550450600400550450500700650600550550500500500500450450400400400350350350400400 400450550500500650700650Identified Ruin Types1 2 3 4 5Public Building Cable Station House Apartment Building Manganese FactoryTown CenterDrainage Direction123 45Regional RoadUnderused CablewayOperating CablewayDrainage WayTown CenterCable StationGreen SpacePioneer PalaceFactoryTrain StationCommunal ApartmentHouse1:2500Town CenterPioneer PalaceKvirila River Kvirila River Section A-A’A’A1:5000600650650600550550400450500350450400550600650700650600550500400450550500450400450500550500 450550450600400550450500700650600550550500500500500450450400400400350350350400400 400450550500500650700650Identified Ruin Types1 2 3 4 5Public Building Cable Station House Apartment Building Manganese FactoryTown CenterDrainage Direction123 45Regional RoadUnderused CablewayOperating CablewayDrainage WayTown CenterCable StationGreen SpacePioneer PalaceFactoryTrain StationCommunal ApartmentHouse1:2500Town CenterPioneer PalaceKvirila River Kvirila River Section A-A’A’A1:5000600650650600550550400450500350450400550600650700650600550500400450550500450400450500550500 450550450600400550450500700650600550550500500500500450450400400400350350350400400 400450550500500650700650Identified Ruin Types1 2 3 4 5Public Building Cable Station House Apartment Building Manganese FactoryTown CenterDrainage Direction123 45Regional RoadUnderused CablewayOperating CablewayDrainage WayTown CenterCable StationGreen SpacePioneer PalaceFactoryTrain StationCommunal ApartmentHouse1:2500Town CenterPioneer PalaceKvirila River Kvirila Riv r Section A-A’A’A1:5000600650650600550550400450500350450400550600650700650600550500400450550500450400450500550500 450550450600400550450500700650600550550500500500500450450400400400350350350400400 400450550500500650700650Identified Ruin Types1 2 3 4 5Public Building Cable Station House Apartment Building Manganese FactoryTown CenterDrainage Direction123 45Regional RoadUnderused CablewayOperating CablewayDrainage WayTown CenterCable StationGreen SpacePioneer PalaceFactoryTrain StationCommunal ApartmentHouse1:2500Town CenterPioneer PalaceKvirila River Kvirila River Section A-A’A’ASection A-A’1:100001:20000Figure 55. Plan and section of Chiatura (Huang, 2019)451960Built.1997Abandoned.20072010201420152018The Pioneer Palace and Park is an iconic photography hotspot secondary only to the cableways. It takes up 30,485 square meters of land located on the south hill of the valley and was originally used for educational and recreational proposes. It was constructed in 1960 and abandoned since 1997.5 A series of photos posted by urban explorers online shows how the palace without any protection decays rapidly through time. It held a music festival     Pioneer Palace and ParkFigure 56. Entrance of the Pioneer Palace features a Roman colonnade (Huang, 2018)Figure 58. Timeline of the Pioneer Palace which degrades quickly because of salvageFigure 57. Interior of the Pioneer Palace, the original color of the peeling walls can be told (Huang, 2018)in 20106, but no other significant use has been identified since abandonment. For people living in the area, it serves as a place to salvage steel. For older residents, the nightlife its ballroom used to offer is unforgettable. For urban explorers and visitors, it is a special place to take photos. These functions represent a typical situation of modern ruins.46The European Union is investing to restore the cable car system and the Pioneer Palace in this historical town. The new cable car system is under construction, but the new design seems questionable and loses the original historical identity. The feasibility report for the Pioneer Palace was published in 2017, but no action had been taken to slow down the degradation of the structure when I visited it this summer. Other examples encountering long waiting for funds and suspension of projects due to financial issues make me doubt the success of processing the renovation plan for the palace. The situation gives landscape architects an opportunity to propose another solution which can reuse ruins in a more cost- and time-efficient way, and encourage self-governance of the town.    New Development¹ See COMUS (2016), COMUS (2017), and Kyiv (2011), for a comprehensive analysis of Chiatura.² See COMUS (2016), for a comprehensive analysis of Chiatura.³ Ibid, page 13, “Monumental volumes of cableways, typical for ‘Stalinist’ architecture, plain, linear and versatile forms characteristic for the late Soviet Modernism, high-rise metal constructions typical for Brutalist architecture and monolithic forms processed with coarse concrete are read as accents in the city landscape. Well developed cableway system and perfect and diverse architectural appearance of stations adds particular charm to the city and is one of its landmarks.”4 See COMUS (2016).5 See COMUS (2017).6 See Secondlifefest (2010).Figure 59. Rendering for the new cablecar station whose cultral features seem to be lost (NTS, 2018)47Project Statement & GoalsAugust October January FebruaryNovember December MarchSeptember AprilLiterature ReviewRuin ArtExplorationSite VisitSite AnalysisPrecedent & Strategy StudiesDrawing SummaryDesignExplorationGuide MakingPresentationProjected Schedule.48Design Solution.49I started the design exploration from sketching my impression on the ruins I visited in Georgia. The texture, features and spatial conditions of ruins helped me to explore their potential uses. Paying attention to different types of ruins, I tried to enhance urban explorers’ and photographers’ experience and aestheticization of ruins in the beginning, for the reason that my interest in ruins derived from their stylish photos online. However, when I moved on and researched for the site, I found it more meaningful for ruins to benefit the local residents instead of serving visitors. My professors also suggested me to ponder over the challenges faced by the town and the support could be offered through landscape architecture interventions.Therefore, I picked several types of ruins and multiple sites to test the ideas and kept on learning more about the Chiatura. After going back and forth a few times, I decided to work on only one site, which is the former Pioneer Palace and Park. It was chosen because of the adequate amount of information I collected on site, useful research could be found online, and also the richness of its past and present.A number of details and facts I found out in the research process came together and affected the design decisions I made for the project in the end. In the beginning, I did not find an approach to present the research details in diagrams and many of my design ideas could not stand. But I organized them systematically into a file later to help me think clearly and have it back up my design.    Directions50Chiatura used to have its heyday depending on its industrial development, but since the Soviet Union dissolved, the town is generally neglected by the authority. The lack of maintenance and investment going into the town leave a great many infrastructures to decay, and generate more modern ruins, including factories, cable stations and public buildings.From history, the fate of the town is largely decided by external forces. But according to observation, people in Chiatura have skills and spirits to make their lives better. The residential buildings in town are fixed with bricks and wooden panels. One apartment building can have various styles for its balconies as the residents modified them to meet their own needs. Even under unpleasant living conditions, people still grow grapes and flowers to delight themselves. Based on their crafting skills and desire for better lives, I decided to propose a community-leading low-cost strategy to reuse ruins in the town, which could encourage personal engagement, build up local residents’ confidence on themselves, and then hopefully increase their interest and participation in the decision making process for the improvement of the town.Responding to the challenges Chiatura is facing today, 6 objectives are set up for the design.    Design Objectives1. As the town has serious water and air pollution caused by industrial production and is in short of drinking water, I propose to mitigate pollution and increase its ecological value. Materials should be identified and recycled from the site and other ruins to cut down the cost for the project, which also helps to keep the characteristics and identity of the town.Guide512. People working in the mining industry strike annually in recent years for safer working conditions, better working environment and higher salaries, but little improvement has been achieved. Miners’ skills and tools are so valuable in reclaiming abandoned sites that involving them in this project which benefits their own living environment with much better working conditions provided is of great importance.Guide3. Because of the high poverty rate and low employment rate, people are moving out of Chiatura, especially the young. The town keeps shrinking with population decrease. The degradation process of some abandoned buildings accelerates because local people are salvaging their metal for money. As a result, I propose to reuse the abandoned sites as a way for preservation, assist local residents with guides for their better use, and provide opportunities for skill learning which may benefit their job hunting process.Guide52ToolsSafety Glasses Gloves Hammer Chisel Watering Can Bucket Dust Pan NailerShovel Pickaxe Hoe Rake Screen Barrow Garbage BinSteps1. Recycle concrete for seating- Hammer the chisel to split the concrete block - Remove the block with barrow - Drop the block in place for seating - Pile soil around to stabilize itSand Opening ClimberUsed in homes for leisureSemi-outdoorleisure space    GuideA guidebook can be given to the local to show tools and processes to reclaim ruins. Plants are selected for a variety of purposes and included in the guide. This project is also trying to be an idea hub to learn skills and methods which can be applied to other ruins around the town. Therefore, the methods in the guide have the potential to be modified and applied to other projects. Different combinations will have different results.533. Pave gravel- Use hoe to clean rocks and weeds - Place edging when necessary - Place the gravel on site - Smooth the surface5. Build stairs- Shovel around the edge of stairs - Place and  stabilize the edging7. Fence livestock- Seperater wheels from the train cars - Place the cars on site and make sure the distance between two car is wider than a person but narrower than livestock- Put soil into it to add weight and stabilize it2. Demolish and recycle materials- Use a pickaxe to take down thw wall - Use a hammer to break big pieces - Use screen to short pieces with di erent size - Fine gravel- Big pieces to break again4. Build paths- Dig out the shape of the path - Place recycled wall pieces on ground - Fill the gap between pavers with soil - Step on it to compast the surface- Plan- Fill the space with soil - Compact the soil6. Recycle materials for railing & trellis- Dig deep holes for stable fundation to hold the structure- Cast concrete to add strong foundation to the columns- Place the column, then fill and compact the  soil on top of it    - Nail the structure to the column548. Compost- Collect and chop green and brown materials- Put the materials into a garbage bin, then add water- Keep it moist and turn it to speed up the process- Wait until it release heat and turn dark without any piece le- Clean big rocks & weeds on site - Place fence on the drainage way- Place compost soil - Water the land10. Visitor`s package for wildflower seeding- Buy a bag of seeds with instruction - Identify a dying plant and remove it for a planting spot- Spread the seed mix - Wish for growth and blossom, keep the package as a souvenirgreen brown- Compact the groundWetlandMeadowGrass- Wait until it release heat and turn dark without any piece le9. Plant- Mix seeds with soil, then spread them with hands- Water itPlantingEast WingAttract wildlifeIncrease ecological value- Prunus- Sorbus55West WingOrnamental plants,Tight and fine texture for intimate space- Deschampsia- Muscari- Allium- OrnithogalumMeadowOrnamental plantsSpreading, touchable and good in wind- Echinops- Betonica- Dianthus- Inula- Iris- Camelina- CalamagrostisDrainage WayWater retaining and purificationto mitigate flooding and pollution- Sedge- Reed- Iris- LiliumPotLocal succulents for exotic feelCan also be vegetable gardens- Semperviuum56The former Pioneer Palace and Park is located on the southern hill of Chiatura. It was originally used for cultural and educational purposes and was a favorite recreational place for people, especially the young. It has a ballroom in the back remembered by the local as a precious place for nightlife. The plaza in the front was used for a music festival in 2010. The surroundings used to be a park in municipal property, but now degraded into a wild grassland with people pasturing there sometimes. Because of steel salvage, the palace has fallen apart quickly in recent years. Local people want the palace to be fully restored and offer classes and activities to the public as it used to do. But there are also questions about the necessity to spend millions of dollars to restore the entire palace as a quantity of residents have moved out and its scale may be too redundant to serve the remaining people. The chief architect Dave Machavariani hired by the European Union to renovate the palace said: “the reconstruction design seeks to partially maintain the existing building and arrange recreational area in surroundings”, which also becomes a part of the direction for this project to go. Differently, the architect approaches the project from the architecture side, while I select a landscape architecture method to reuse the existing parts of the palace and its surroundings. For me, ruins are a state between the artifact and wild nature, as the competition and obscureness between these two are fascinating and ruins have the potential to be explored in the landscape architecture region.The rest 3 design objectives are followed:    Site Analysis4. The town has a number of communal apartments like the ones around the palace. To form better neighborhoods, giving space and opportunities for active social activities can be helpful. Also responding to the old memory and former use of the site, revitalizing the nightlife provided by the ballroom and improving the ability to hold events in the plaza are critical parts of the proposal. In the meantime, this strategy is also trying to attract young people.Guide57GuideGuide5. The Pioneer Palace was originally designated for schoolchildren’s extracurricular activities. In this project, children are welcomed to participate, for various activities are encouraged on the site to improve their creativity. Engaging participants at different ages is significant in building better communities and revitalizing the town.6. The ruined palace sometimes attract photographers, however, urban explorers and tourists are criticized for their ignorance of the local’s difficulties and taking photos without questioning the related social-economic issues, or having any significant positive influence on the sites. As a consequence, tourists are encouraged to contribute to the development of the site while they are visiting it, which is a meaningful approach. This may also balance the outsiders’ aesthetic appreciation for ruins and the fact of loss and underuses for the local.I see ruins as a form between nature and architecture, just like parks and landscape architecture. They are not pure loss of human civilization but the chances to rethink about a better relationship between people and nature. This point of view builds the foundation for my proposal, and pictures a possible future to celebrate ruin reclamation as the process of slowly retreating from artificialization and giving the land back to nature.58The palace is surrounded by a great number of houses, 3 apartment buildings, and a cable station under reconstruction. The surroundings are highly vegetated and the town can be viewed from the west grassland, while the site is only accessible from the eastern side. Thus, the first thing to do is to improve the accessibility of the site for the neighbors, and three paths are proposed to connect the apartment buildings with the site.The eastern entrance is a formal pathway for visitors connecting with the cable station. A parking lot is close to the entrance serving the event attendants and urban explorers.The distinctive space along the axis and the two wings of the palace are kept, but the remaining rooms are demolished for material recycling. The existing walls remain as separation in the western wing to create intimate social space by placing broken columns as seating in the rooms with delicate shrub and vine planting for comfortable interactions.The hall serves as the playground for children. The existing graffiti inspires children to take the wall as their canvas after cleaning and repainting them. A sand play area is built with recycled materials. Meanwhile, the hall can also serve people as a shelter and reception space when having events on the plaza.The south part of the grassland still serves as a pasture separated from the north part with good spots viewing the surroundings. For a better experience, a low-maintenance meadow is introduced to the northern grassland.The pathway goes across the drainage way is lifted in some parts to stay dry. Materials recycled from factories are used to build fences retaining water. At the same time, wetland     Overall Designplants are grown along the drainage way to slow down rainwater and mitigate flooding and landslides.The other path lies on the mountain ridge with big elevation change connecting the park with the 12-floor apartment building, and will have good views of the surrounding landscape when the forest opens up. And the stairs use wooden materials recycled from abandoned houses.591:500Section C-C’Cable Station Pioneer Palace1:500Section B-B’Pioneer Palace5005255755505005255505005251:500Water Filtering AreaDrainageParking LotPathPathPathDrivewayApartment BuildingCable StationHousePlazaBallroomHallResting SpaceSitting SpacePlay StructureMeadowGrape TrellisFence PlanterViewingOrchardPergolaB’B123456C’CSpatial Experience1 2 3 4 5Parking Lot West Wing Palace Hall Elevated Path Hillside StairsCable Station1:500Section C-C’Cable Station Pioneer Palace1:500Section B-B’Pioneer Palace5005255755505005255505005251:500Water Filtering AreaDrainageParking LotPathPathPathDrivewayApartment BuildingCable StationHousePlazaBallroomHallResting SpaceSitting SpacePlay StructureMeadowGrape TrellisFence PlanterViewingOrchardPergolaB’B123456C’CSpatial Experience1 2 3 4 5Parking Lot West Wing Palace Hall Elevated Path Hillside StairsCable Station1:500Section C-C’Cable Station Pioneer Palace1:500Section B-B’Pioneer Palace5005255755505005255505005251:500Water Filtering AreaDrainageParking LotPathPathPathDrivewayApartment BuildingCable StationHousePlazaBallroomHallResting SpaceSitting SpacePlay StructureMeadowGrape TrellisFence PlanterViewingOrchardPergolaB’B123456C’CSpatial Experience1 2 3 4 5Parking Lot West Wing Palace Hall Elevated Path Hillside StairsCable Station1:500Section C-C’Cable Station Pioneer Palace1:500B BPioneer Palace5005255755505005255505005251:500Water Filtering AreaDrainageParking LotPathPathPathDrivewayApartment BuildingCable StationHousePlazaBallroomHallResting SpaceSitting SpacePlay StructureMeadowGrape TrellisFence PlanterViewingOrchardPergolaB’B123456C’CSpatial Experience1 2 3 4 5Parking Lot West Wing Palace Hall Elevated Path Hillside StairsCable Station1:2000Section B-B’1:20001:500Section - ’Cable Station Pioneer Palace1:500Section - ’Pioneer Palace5005255755505005255505005251:500ater Filtering AreaDrainageParking LotPathPathPathDrivewayApart ent BuildingCable StationHousePlazaBallrooHallResting SpaceSitting SpacePlay StructureMeadowGrape TrellisFence PlanterViewingOrchardPergolaB’B123456C’Ci l i1 2 3 4 5arking Lot est ing alace all Elevated ath illside Stairsable StationSection C-C’1:200060Renderings.61    Rendering 1 - Entrance•  The main entrance going to the pioneer palace and park is connected with the renovated cable station and driveway. The path is paved with gravel made from recycled materials. The walkway is framed by grape trellises, made from materials recycled from the industrial structures. As Georgia is called the first place making wines in history, many Georgians still like to grow grapes and make wines themselves for sale. The trellises on the two sides of the path not only frame the view for the visitors, but also provide people living in apartment buildings with space to grow grapes.•  It is hard to see the palace when walking on this path, but once turning left at the corner, the palace Salvage Metal Build Grape TrellisPave the GroundClean Rocks & WeedsPlant for Beneficial AnimalsPresent Process Futurewill show up suddenly, contrasting with the constrained view before and trying to create a sense of exploration and discovery inspired by the urban exploration activities happened on site before.•  Vegetation around this area is more for productivity and to increase the ecological value of the site by growing plants feeding beneficial animals. The eastern wing of the palace will be left without much restoration except for random planting trying to naturize the space, attract wild animals, and leave the degrading wing disorganized as an informal entrance for explorers to experience the site.62    Rendering 2 - Plaza•  The plaza now is filled with weeds, shrubs, and broken building pieces, and visitors often take photos here for the special style of the building facade. There is graffiti on some walls. Plants on the plaza should be cleaned to make way for reuse. Broken paving on the ground will be smoothed with fine gravel. Broken stairs serve as the beds for grass and will finally create patches of grassland for sitting.•  Walls and columns will be cleaned for a better environment to hold events, like concerts, festivals, even Present Process FuturePlace Fine Gravel for PathsReinstall LightingSow Grass SeedsRemove WeedsClean the GroundUrban Explorers & PhotographersArt ShowEvents & ProgramsClean & Fix Broken PartsGraitiSeat & RestGather & Watchart shows. A few art activities have been brought to the town by social groups working on introducing art to small cities. Taking these actions forward is meaningful for local cultural development. The plaza can be a major social and public gathering space inviting for both local residents and visitors out of the town.63    Rendering 3 - Ballroom•  Revitalizing the recreational activities provided by the ballroom is crucial as a precious space supporting nightlife like it used to be for people in town, and it is also trying to bring back young people.•  Because of building material salvage, the ballroom is falling apart quickly. The former indoor ballroom is restored as an open-air ballroom with the floor re-paved with gravel, walls repainted with the original impressive blue color and lighting re-installed. Present Process FutureBuild Grape TrellisSalvage MetalSalvage Building MaterialsRepaint WallClean Rocks & WeedsRestore PlantsPave Floor with Recycled GravelDance, Ballroom Revival Music & PerformanceReinstall Lighting•  Hopefully, the recycled materials can be used to change the ballroom into a more garden-like space. Planting around the space aims at bringing outdoor features and making the space more lively and dynamic. Metal can be recycled for grape trellises to fix the missing parts of the walls, and broken concrete blocks can be used for paving and planting pot making.64    Rendering 4 - Meadow•  The southern grassland is improved and managed for pasture, separated from the northern resting area for people. Abandoned railcars recycled from the factories work as fences for animals, but the gaps in-between each car still allow people to go through. The cars are also planters for decorative planting or vegetable gardens.•  Low-maintenance meadow is introduced to this area for better viewing and resting experience. Plough LandClean Dead Plants & WeedsPresent Process FutureNatural PastureManaged PastureBuild StairsSpread SeedsRecycle Cars as Fence PlantersRecycle Materials as SeatingsRecycle Materials as Play StructureRestore MeadowIndustrial infrastructures are recycled as sittings for people, and as structures for children to play with.•  To engage visitors in the site development, a seedbox is placed beside the planting areas. Visitors can get small bags of seeds with instructions. They are encouraged to help weed and seed the meadow as a way to contribute to the improvement of the site.65    ConclusionI did not expect Chiatura to be a politically sensitive site for this project. At first, as I wanted the project to be a prototype feasible to be modified and applied to other cities facing similar situations, I tried to choose a site with modern ruins resulted from modernization, social changes or other factors common to see around the world. Even in the design process, I still took the Soviet past as that kind of social changes as Chiatura never experienced remarkable political revolution or wars which could be special and sensitive situations to deal with. Based on the European Union’s reports online, the impact of Soviet Union on Chiatura is on the commercial development and infrastructure construction more than political control, and people in town generally have positive feelings on the constructions from Soviet era. On the other side, foreign visitors seem to mind the relationships between the town and Stalin a lot as Stalin started his first revolution in Chiatura to persuade workers to fight for their own rights for better working conditions and pay. Some of the buildings in town are also identified as Stalinist style featured with the revival of classical architecture style. These two sides of opinions have interesting contrast, but my neutral position allows me to emphasize on the local’s feelings of the Soviet past, because this project is more for them rather than the visitors. I decided to focus on what the actual benefits the ruins of the palace can offer instead of its symbolism or social ideology for the reason that people in town care more about the actual programs and activities it could offer again. Working on small details about how to construct the project is the main topic in my design approach.In the final review, reviewers had good points of view about having people of different ages in charge of various parts of the project, including program management and event organization. It was inspiring and made the project more thoughtful as I had some ideas about what children can do to help with the construction process but did not take the age group question further. 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