Concrete Ghost-Dam deconstruction

Yiru Liu

Reassembling the Earth


Jazairy El Hadi


As the high-speed development of China's economy during the 1990s, the government approved a huge infrastructure project-Three Gorges Dam in 1996 and the national project was totally completed in 2006. The dam is a hydroelectric gravity dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, Hubei province, China. The Three Gorges Dam has been the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW) since 2012.

However, as the dam keeps providing electrical resources to people of the whole country, people from the local area have suffered a lot due to the construction of the giant megastructure. The water level of the reservoir should remain 175 meter's height, which results in severe drowning of numerous counties and villages. About 1,980,000 people had to move out of the town they used to live for generations. First, those drowned counties are a very valuable place where temples and cultural relics have remained for thousands of years till the dam project and everything was flooded away or sinking in the bottom of the reservoir. Second, 30,000 hectares of arable land have been flooded and people lost their food resources. Third, the counties along the Yangtze river used to have many industrial factories, however, they are all destroyed by the reservoir water and people lost their jobs.

Therefore, my position is to stand at the opposite point, rethink what has been lost because of this giant project instead of what a great success it brought to the government. I want to inspire people to consider about the permanent trauma brought by the dam and how to help local people and land recover from the huge damage through a fable thinking about what the dam would be made full use of when the water goes away and the dam become just a concrete ghost standing on the ground. Everything it has drowned is showing up again in the form of ruins lying around the concrete object. At this time, the most valuable part of the dam is its thousand tons of concrete material, therefore, I want to deconstruct the whole ghost into pieces and integrate them into the reconstruction process of residential units, ancient architecture, and industrial sites. This is not only forming a recover system, but also a symbol of tearing apart the totalitarianism of the power while expressing hope for gaining equal rights for local people to lead a better life.