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Qingyuan R Zhou

Milton Keynes, a new town that emerged within the context of a great surge in technological innovation, displayed a polarized attitude towards its rich archaeological scene as most sites are concreted over by new-build infrastructures and housing. Its selective process comes at the expense of neglecting more bottom-up narratives, resulting a cultural freezing. 

By designing a dig of a Roman archaeological site at Stanbury, a small community located in northern Milton Keynes, the project challenges the public to understand the past as multiple narratives. Following philosopher Jacque Derrida’s understanding of archive as a combination of tangible materials and intangible rules, physical and parametric tools together form the design language for the project. 

Archaeological remains become sites of physical exploration that invite the local community to participate in the unearthing of the past, as well as to reinterpret its place in their lives. Imprints of the past are made on new walls, which emerge around sites and physically manifest the multiplicity of the city’s past and the collaboration involved in collectively writing the history of Milton Keynes. 

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