(dis)appearance : unearthing the fragile fossil of Geamăna through new narratives

Oana-Theodora Stefan

Once a commune in the heart of Apuseni mountains, Geamăna undergone a radical change, from a territory resourceful in its domesticity to a post-extraction environment. As of 1984, more than 400 families forcefully relocated, due to the village becoming flooded with the slurry dumped from Roșia Poieni, the newly opened copper mine. Most people chose to leave, while others still reside on the banks of the ever-growing lake, queer and yet alluring. (dis)appearance becomes a story for them.


As a first reaction, a cartographic investigation on (dis)appearance space, memory and narratives, is carried out. Engaging with oral recalling, written imaginings and self-drawn reflections, the thesis questions the limitations of formal mapping, arguing for the incorporation of a narrative layer, as a catalyst for a more mindful reshaping of fragile territories.


The project comes thus as an exploration on how to spatially unearth the recalled narratives, while challenging their mnemonic dimension through alternative fictions, both territorial and architectural. The (dis)appearance consists of an ephemeral infrastructure, of cattail wetlands supported by punctual architectural nodes. It brings together reused fragments of both domestic dwellings and industrial leftovers, into a new tale for the place, which can be deconstructed and reassembled once obsolete. Together, this aids for a gradual disappearance of the lake’s toxines and a gentle appearance of a new composite landscape, which metamorphoses the fossil of Geamăna, while opening up the possibly for new future narratives, communities and environments.

Professor in charge of the statement:
Fröhlich, Anja
Educational director:
Jo François Taillieu
Anja Fröhlich
EPFL Senior scientist:
Axel Chevroulet
Véronique Patteeuw
2022, 2023
Master, Fall
Master Project
Architecture, Environment, Experimentation, Heritage, History, Housing, Landscape, Society, Structure, Sustainability, Territory, Theory, Urban study
CC BY Licence
Theoretical statement

în dis(a)pariție* Geamăna and the unearthing of a fossil in (dis)appearance