Archipelago of Wonders


Dominika Kopiarova

A personal fascination with obsolescence as an inherent landscape condition lies at the core of a project, which thematically concerns fundamental scientific inquiry. It stems from the preconceived tensions between progress versus obsolescence – and – progress versus accident. The former is a result of the latent dependency of economic progress on the perpetual obsolescence of space exemplified by postindustrial landscapes, a condition which will be elaborated in this paper under Territories of Obsolescence. The latter, however, as Paul Virilio argued in his University of Disaster, is a controversion that scientific progress and accident are two sides of the same coin. His theory provides a critical understanding of the scientific experiment and introduces the counter notions of accident and disaster.

The project addresses the need to contain scientific progress architecturally inside micro-regions of concentrated knowledge and satisfy the territorial concerns of the Big Science that – more often than not – take on an infrastructural scale. It addresses these themes in Trieste – a territory of contested history and sovereignty once envisioned as the city of science and knowledge. Architecture is argued to be a relevant space where the tensions between progress, obsolescence and disaster could play out productively and dive into architecturally little-theorised spaces. 

Anatoli Bugorski Independent Research Institute for Scientific Failures inhabits a postindustrial landscape of the former cement quarries in Trieste that allow for sustaining such an institution – by providing the underground territory for experimentation and the primary structural material for the institute. The project speculates on reversing re-naturalisation processes and excavating the underground spaces by employing a room and pillar mining method superimposed upon the critically unstable conditions of the Karstic terrain. Here, the notions of accident and disaster materialise within the postindustrial landscape.

Figure 1. ABRI – Celebrating the Failures





TU Delft / Faculty of Architecture