City of Disassembly

by Georine Pierre, 2017-2018
Advisor: Thom Faulders

Our contemporary capitalist world is composed of distributed territories of production, consumption, and waste. Sites of consumption dominate first-world cities, while sites of production and waste are increasingly offshored to the developing world. This thesis asks: What is architecture’s capacity to intervene in such mechanisms, re-integrating these disparate streams into a closed system, a “factory without a factory”? By exploiting the potential links between domestic and industrial processes, could new qualities of life arise in an industrial machine-city, in which production, consumption and waste activities are co-mingled?

The thesis offers a potential site of experimentation within the communities and informal settlements that have emerged within e-waste dump sites in developing countries—specifically, Agbogbloshie, an e-waste recovery district near Accra, Ghana. By examining landscapes formed from e-waste disposal, the project provides new extraction and disassembly-based templates for architecture and urbanism that aim for a symbiosis of economic, political, and social systems.