Anne Floor Timan-Wenzel

Anne Floor Timan-Wenzel

Landscape Architecture

Moving Earth

Laboratory for the Symbiocene

Toxic landscapes  
All over the world, open-cast mines damage ecosystems and cause soil- water- and air pollution. Many are being closed and replaced with renewable energy landscapes. What remains are water-filled, toxic scars in the landscape. Its history sealed and erased forever.     

My aim was to preserve and repair these scars by proposing an alternative way to restore the water table and water-& soil quality through natural systems. At the same time, I am striving for co-existence in an integrated production landscape; to give back lost land to the people and non-humans.   

Browncoal mine  
For this experiment, I chose Germany's largest brown coal mine: The Hambach mine, just across the Dutch border. The site is so beyond human scale that it was hard to grasp. I experienced the Sublime landscape: impressive, terrible and beautiful at the same time.     

Laboratory for the Symbiocene   
The mine became a symbol for transformation: the first Laboratory for the Symbiocene. 'Symbiocene' stands for a future era where we reintegrate ourselves with nature, where positive impacts will heal the negative ones.   

Time Travel  
Staring into a 405-meter-deep hole means staring into deep geological time. The terraces have uncovered the story of the brown coal's origin, climate changes and the elements. It also teaches us future possibilities with clean energy, new food systems, and a nature-inclusive production landscape.  

Paleobotanical species found in the mine serve as bio-accumulators for heavy metals and bring past worlds to life, like time layers.  

Like the Earth itself, the Laboratory is always moving. Mining machines move water down- and upward, becoming more abundant in time, cleansing the system; they move soil to create new landscapes and manage succession; vegetation develops over time.  

Together, they create a biodiverse and inclusive place, a new destiny for humans and non-humans.  

Graduation date: 11 July 2023 
Graduation committee: Joyce van den Berg (mentor), Bruno Doedens, Paolo Picchi 
Extra members: Dr. Eva Remke, Prof. Dr. A.J.P. Smolders 
Additional members for the exam: Roel van Gerwen, Willemijn van Manen

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