B.Arch Thesis w/ Kevin Pratt & Leyre Asensio, Cornell University
Pig’s Eye Dump, located on the Mississippi River just south of Saint Paul, is home to one of the largest superfund sites in the state of Minnesota. Operated by the city for over twenty years, the dump sits in a particularly volatile portion of the riparian river valley. Contaminants far exceeding the allowable legal limit leach directly into the ground water and alluvial aquifer that feeds Pig’s Eye Lake and the greater Mississippi river shed system. My BArch thesis proposes a strategy for cleaning the contaminated ground water while allowing the site to be developed as occupied green space for the city of Saint Paul. The site poses several unique challenges as a remediation project. It cannot be capped, as waste is in line with the water table and excavating will unsettle large quantities of fuel and heavy metals, further disturbing the surrounding landscape. As such, my thesis proposes a hybrid system of ground stabilization and in-site flushing through a series of pile wells and above-ground treatment by phytoremediation. By drawing the ground water up through a network of pile wells and distributing it into trays of artificial landscape, hyperaccumulator plants are used to process contaminants from the water. On a large scale, this project acts as a hybrid architectural/natural system, drawing water from the ground through artificial roots and distributing it into a canopy of live material, using the elements to dilute and treat it.