Canada has a long history of production, use, and export of asbestos, starting in 1876 when the first Canadian asbestos mine opened. With the industrial era of asbestos nearing its end, postproduction asbestos towns will remain not only as urban entities but also, and perhaps more importantly, as communities.
This thesis considers the question of a new architectural and landscape design strategy for Thetford Mines, a former asbestos town wavering between success and failure. At one time the driver of the city’s economy and core of its identity, Thetford’s asbestos mines are now an uncomfortable impediment to a holistic approach to urban development. This thesis addresses two main critical issues: 1) how to repurpose a former mine site?; and 2) how to reconcile a contested past with the town’s present-day identity? The goal is to trigger both reconciliation with a problematic past as well as urban development for the present.