Photos: Zaha Hadid Architects
Renowned architect Zaha Hadid’s latest project is the three-tower Toowong development slated for a piece of riverfront property in Brisbane, Australia. And besides the spaceship-like design of the skyscrapers — familiar territory for Hadid — it’s a fairly innocuous proposal, unless you take a closer look at the site.
As Gizmodo reports, Between 1911 and 1916 the land was home to a uranium processing plant, which produced products used to paint luminous clocks, watches and instrument dials:
The land’s former tenant, an affiliate of Australia’s ABC Radio network, vacated the land back in 2006 after concerns over radiation linked it to several cases of cancer.
While some tests revealed that the levels of radiation are safe, people tend to shy away from uranium-drenched soil. University of Queensland associate professor Clive Warren told the Brisbane Times that the land was “blighted” back in 2010. “It’s going to be a long time before people are willing to live there I’d imagine.”
Meanwhile, independent tests of a home neighboring the development site in 2008 showed “contamination in the soil between 50 and 350 times normal levels.”
One assumes that more thorough analysis will be conducted before any shovels dig into potentially uranium-soaked ground. If the project does go through, the development will consist of 486 apartments, eight “villas” and a 78,576-square-foot public park. The tapered towers’ multi-layered facade will be adorned in a glazed curtain wall overlaid with a pattern of glass reinforced concrete. The project is expected to cost a little over $384 million USD.