These Alien Skyscrapers Will Rest On The Site Of An Old Uranium Plant In Brisbane

These Alien Skyscrapers Will Rest on the Site of an Old Uranium Plant

The Pritzker Prize-winning starchitect Zaha Hadid just released images of her latest design -- three matching towers for Brisbane's waterfront -- and they look nothing short of alien. Which feels oddly appropriate, since the skyscrapers are also supposed to sit on potentially radioactive land.

Hadid's so-called Toowong development, a complex with 486 apartments and eight villas, is indeed planned to be built on contaminated land. 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. As the Brisbane Times reported in 2008, "The site housed a uranium processing plant between 1911 and 1916, which produced products used to paint luminous clocks, watches and instrument dials." That would do it.

These Alien Skyscrapers Will Rest on the Site of an Old Uranium Plant

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.''

But who knows! Maybe Hadid's mega stardom and eye-catching designs can woo some 500 would be tenants to move into the towers. They look like soda bottles with their caps stuck into the ground. Heck, maybe the smaller footprint means less exposure to the decaying uranium in the soil and, hence, less of a human risk.

These Alien Skyscrapers Will Rest on the Site of an Old Uranium Plant

But risks -- and radical architecture -- are Hadid's thing. And if tests prove that the ground is safe, these towers would be one hell of a way to bring people back to the neighbourhood. [Dezeen, Brisbane Times]

These Alien Skyscrapers Will Rest on the Site of an Old Uranium Plant

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    Shouldn't you be able to see the Toowong Village tower in those renders?

      The second picture looks like its meant to be taken from Toowong Village tower, but otherwise it is suspiciously missing.

      Actually come to think about it, the Regatta is missing from the last one too!

    To be fair these guys are going to be a fair way above to soil.

    Now picture it with the water level 14m higher.

    A little radiation is good for you. It's science everyone! Plenty of info "on the net".

    Last I heard this was still up in the air... Also, they will no doubt dig down a ways to establish sub levels for parking etc, so I would presume the contaminated soil would be moved elsewhere..?

      Then I fear for the construction workers.

    That first pic makes them look like something out of Halo.

    Contamination from natural uranium is nothing to worry about radiologically. It's a weak alpha emitter with a half-life as long as the age of the earth. I'd have no problems living there.
    Fear-mongers will, no doubt, bring out the radiation-boogie-man and try to stop construction.

      stay safe, take a potassium pill every month, just for insurance :D

    Beautiful buildings but having known 3 people who mysteriously got Breast Cancer working at the ABC building there before, I'd pass...

    They would look nice on the side of a Clift.

    They do look beautiful builds but I would be concerned about possible flooding and the damage to the building from the water, not ot mention the underground parking area during a flood. The expense would be huge like a lot of buildings that did get hit during the last flood.

    I lived in Brisbane at the time and never heard anything of it being a uranium plant. It was often suggested the high breast cancer rates were due to transmission towers on site. That article you've linked about being a uranium site is regarding a property in Hunters Hill, Sydney (nearly 1000 km away). Another article you referernce regarding potential contamination of the site shows testing actually cleared it as being within normal limits of background radiation levels.

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