Vortex | US-29 After the Sprawl | Landfill to Landform

This project is a product of a one-week collaboration of a fantastic team of undergraduates and graduates in the school of architecture at UVA as participation in an annual “Vortex” competition.

We are about to drown in our plastic bottles and baby diapers. The existing Charlottesville landfills are closing and we no longer can hide trash offsite via this infrastructure – it must be dealt with locally. Trash is now the generator of a new urban system driven by a new type of waste infrastructure, and Charlottesville’s strip mall and suburban landscape become cultural artifacts that are adapted into new type of urban form generated by waste processing and landfill strategies.

On Route 29, the waste output of the commercial strip is stored in place in a linear landfilling strategy that creates inhabitable public spaces along the highway. The build up of these landfill forms create spectacle along the drive, and reflect the outputs of the commercial system, all while creating a new source of energy for new developments through methane production in the landfill.

In the city fabric around 29, new pockets of density are centered around collection, distribution, storage and processing of waste. The emergence of neighborhood collection facilities, sorting and processing facilities, and storage and manufacturing facilities become hubs of mixed use commercial activity and public space.

As Route 29 becomes an exciting corridor of mixed use and new urban forms, it also exists as a catalyst for a more polycentric commercial activity, generating new industries and providing new jobs that support this localized trash infrastructure.

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