We got Glacial Clay from Queens!
When we started the "City of Dreams" pavilion project, we had the ambition to get clay-rich dredge and fill to make the cracked pattern molds for our aluminum panels. We knew it wouldn't be so easy. Where, when and how would we get it? Would it be polluted? Would it stink? Would it even work?
Originally, we planned to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to collect dredge from the East River. However, our project schedule and scale do not align with their annual dredges. Luckily, we found the Clean Soil Bank, an initiative from the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) that facilitates the transfer of earth from excavation sites that want to get rid of it to building sites that need it.
The OER connected us with geologists working on a site in Flushing, Queens who had excavated down to glacial clay and needed to get rid of it. Clay isn't great to build on. We could basically take as much as we wanted!
The clay being excavated is from glacial deposits; it is pure clay that hasn't touched the atmosphere since it was deposited during the last ice age approximately 11,000 years ago.
Not only will we use it for the molds to cast aluminum, we'll also use it in our installation. When the clay wets and dries in the summer sun, it will change from a reflecting pool to a cracked pattern. Visitors will see how the material dries and how the molds "make themselves" forming an emergent cracked pattern in the heat.
Check out our pictures below from the clay excavation!
We could clearly see the dark clay from the top of the 2 Fulton pit.
We took a small amount of clay for testing. The OER has told us that the clay is certified clean which is great if kids decided to play in it this summer. And it doesn't stink :)
This is definitely clay or clay-rich earth. Only clay cracks this way. When it dries it turns a lighter grey.
Check out the Clean Soil Bank and the NYC Office of Environmental Remediation (OER). Thank you Dan Walsh, Kate Glass and Tara Ostock for making this happen. Thank you Paul Mankiewicz from The Gaia Institute for introducing us to the OER.