Plastic Plastic, Yidian Liu and Nathaniel Banks, GS (2312094)
Every year, 150 million tonnes of plastic leaches into the world’s oceans. The extent of oceanic plastic contamination is rapidly approaching a critical level where there will soon be more plastic in the ocean by mass, than fish. Currently, the vast majority of plastic leaches into the oceans via polluted rivers and coalesces into vast ‘plastic islands’ in the oceans. However, despite being aware of these points of discharge and coalescence, little has been attempted to manage waterborne plastics. This is because the extreme disparity between the minute scales of plastic pollutants and their colossal areas of contamination, makes it challenging for humans to adequately comprehend, let alone manage. Our thesis situates architecture as a medium through which both scales of plastic pollution can be addressed. As a tool through which plastic pollutants can be consolidated into a perceptible scale. Focusing on the LA River as a site of intervention, this thesis speculates upon the development of novel architectural systems for the extraction and long-term storage of aquatic plastic pollutants. Once implemented, our site serves to consolidate plastic sediments from vast geographies of minute fragments, into a nucleation of plastic landscapes and architecture. Through its continued growth and mutation, the site becomes a lifeform for the accumulation and digestion of plastic pollutants. As societies transition away from plastics towards less harmful alternatives, we anticipate the growth of the site to transform into an artifact of bygone plastic consumption; locking away plastics within the fabric of the city.