Thom Moran: 12-1-20 Architecture Lecture
Post Rock: The Geological Society of America recently published a report announcing a new class of stone: plastiglomerate. Formed when organic and inorganic materials such as stone, sand, and seashells fuse with polymer plastics, plastiglomerates are the result of plastics accumulating in ocean and beach ecosystems. Given the inherent durability of both stone and plastic, plastiglomerates are likely to last for a very long time. In many disciplines the appearance of this hybrid rock is being theorized as another indicator that the anthropocene age has arrived.
Modeled after plastiglomerate’s hybrid composition and curious aesthetics, Post Rock is an authored material for a post-natural architecture. In the fabrication process, its component pieces do not fully meld into a homogenous whole. Making Post Rock, then, requires the consideration of its image and meaning in addition to its tectonic performance and possibilities. Where post modern architecture confused material readings through referential building fragments, the legible components of Post Rock refer to both the geological and the cultural territories of plastic’s production and consumption.
Through three architectural proposals for three different environments, this project aims to reframe plastiglomerate from unnatural byproduct to post-natural resource. While existing plastiglomerates are visually and materially linked to the beach ecosystems where they were discovered, each Post Rock design gives form to a distinct ecology through its mixture of waste plastics and inorganic materials.