If you’ve got an enormous crater you don’t know what to do with, a Russian architectural firm may have idea you’d be interested in hearing.
One man’s pit is another man’s paradise, even when – or indeed, especially when – you’re talking about an enormous former Soviet mine. Russian architectural studio AB Elis has drawn up plans to turn a vast manmade crater in Eastern Siberia into a solar powered, sci-fi utopia, revitalizing the Mirny Industrial Zone in process by attracting tourists from all over the world.
The town of Mirny is the site of a huge open pit diamond mine, over three quarters of a mile wide, and more than quarter of a mile deep. The Mir Mine – as it’s called – is the second largest excavated hole in the world, behind the Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah, USA. Conditions in the Mir Mine were reportedly so harsh in winter that oil would freeze and car tires and steel would get cold enough to shatter. The pit closed in 2001 after mining it became unprofitable, although diamond mining still takes place in the area.
In AB Elis’ plan, a huge glass dome covers the pit, insulating the interior against the extreme Siberian weather. Under the dome is a three level city that contains parks, living space for around a hundred thousand people, vertical farms, and even a forest. The city will get its power by lining the glass dome with solar panels, soaking up rays and generating electricity without needing to burn anything.
Taking a barren hole and making into a wholesome and green place out of it is an really interesting idea, not to mention a great place to set an FPS game. Fellow newsie Andy Chalk suggests that the sustained heat of the settlement might activate trace elements in the rock, sending the inhabitants mad and forcing the Russian government to send in a special forces team – which you are a part of, naturally – to clean house and plant explosives at its core, burying it in rubble forever.
Hopefully, even if the city doesn’t get built, which it probably won’t, the game will, because a Stalker meets Crysis meets BioShock hybrid sounds like a lot of fun.