Urban environmental agency is visible through its materialization, nonetheless, the technological systems behind its production often remain concealed. Buildings and infrastructures, as technological products, are just a small visible part of a complex system – the excavation, exploitation, consumption, erosion, and transformation of basalt stones are among some of the technological procedures behind the physicality of landscapes. The extraction of raw materials from which the island is built leads to operations of material addition or subtraction – and the island reinvents itself, within a network of sites of exploitation and provision.
Through a photographic testimony of a basalt quarry in S. Miguel Island, this paper intends to explore the intertwinement between the extraction sites and its architectural manifestations. In this light, the acknowledgment of these invisible production sites is understood as a form of care for the possible futures of the island’s materialities.
Today, as the concern for the environmental impacts of construction is ever more present on the global agenda, along with a shortage of many resources for civil construction activities, a critical awareness of the territories’ building materials urges. In this sense, to interrogate the island’s dependencies through an urban lens seems to be essential for a control of architectural materials. These landscapes disclose part of the extractions that produce the island, and considering that material and environmental impacts are also located in the future, this analysis seeks to engage urban production with a practice of care.
Cover image: Quarry, S. Miguel Island, 2021. Author’s photo
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