On May 27, 1962, the coal seam that runs through the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania was ignited by the deliberate burning of trash at the Centralia landfill, located in the pit of a former strip mine.
After two decades of unsuccessful attempts to put out the fire and remediate the site, the town was abandoned, leaving behind an eroding street grid and an ever-dwindling number of defiant buildings and residents. The fire -- 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit at its core and advancing at a rate of 50-75 feet per year-still burns today, and could continue to do so for another 250 years.
For this studio, we will investigate this and other unique and unfamiliar conditions presented by a number of towns in the United States. Each student will research the history of a given town and prepare an analytical study of its peculiarities to ultimately present an alternative model for its inhabitation, structure, organization, program, and respective future, with the license to situate its respective present accordingly .
Students should be prepared to devote one weekend to travel.