Stackwell/Sitwell draws from the region’s vernacular waste landscapes formally and ontologically. Its form, a cylindrical stack, is significant in Lackawanna County, both for its presence and its absence. Viewed one way, it evokes the post-industrial stacks that cross the horizon and bear so much symbolic weight in this region that was once defined by its extractive industries. Viewed another way, it channels the wellheads that are absent from this landscape as a consequence of that same industry; this is a region that can no longer drink its groundwater due to contamination from acid-mine drainage.
Stackwell/Sitwell’s ontology is bipartite. Rising in a high-grass meadow, it is, at its inception, a rigid stack of 90 delicate plaster rings (hence, Stackwell). Plaster in architecture is typically a surfacing material, used decoratively. Here, it is employed structurally—the bottom rings, supporting the most weight, are thicker. The top rings, which support less weight, are porous. As such, its structure can be read through a gradient of solidity, from Stackwell’s dense base to its porous top.
In its transition to Sitwell, the structure is dismantled and reassembled. No longer a site-specific work, Sitwell is, instead, mobile—built on a movable plinth with wheels. Sitwell deemphasizes the structural qualities of plaster in favor of its materiality. From one side, the edges of the plaster possess a shell-like translucency. From the other, the semicircular fragments appear ossified—rib-like in their anatomy. At its core, Stackwell/Sitwell carries a message of reuse in architecture and art as in waste.