Design Studio
Fall 2022

Energy and Landscape RepairOpening the Archive of the LandYee Shuang Sim, Dara Rüfenacht, and Shriya Chaudhry

The land in the Rheinische Revier is heavily occupied by brown coal mining. Since the 19th century, the excavation of brown coal has been the fuel for industrial and economic growth in the region. The open pit mines have slowly advanced through the land, swallowing everything that lays in their way. They have erased both the cultural landscape and the local property structures.

RWE Power AG, the main energy producer and landowner in the region, is not only responsible for the mining activities since the 1920s, but also controls the planning of the post-mining landscape. Their efforts to recultivate the land imply wiping out the traces of the mining activities and overwriting of the existing archive of the land.

People are deeply connected to the land they shape in their everyday life. It is their memories that can help preserve the archive of the land and make its history palpable. Archiving those memories offers a way to preserve the intrinsic layers of the land for future generations and open them to everyone.