exploiting-the-blackbox

NEWS: my academic work of the last two years has finally come to its end, concluding in a Master’s Thesis book called “Exposing the Data Center”. Done and done!

Abstract of the thesis is as follows:

“Given the rapid growth in the importance of the Internet, data centers – the buildings that store information on the web – are quickly becoming the most critical infrastructural objects in the world. However, so far they have received very little, if any, architectural attention. This thesis proclaims data centers to be the “churches” of the digital society and proposes a new type of a publicly accessible data center.

The thesis starts with a brief overview of the history of data centers and the Internet in general, leading to a manifesto for making data centers into public facilities with an architecture of their own. After, the paper proposes a roadmap for the possible future development of the building type with suggestions for placing future data centers in urban environments, incorporating public programs as a part of the building program, and optimizing the inside workings of a typical data center. The final part of the work, concentrates on a design for an exemplary new data center, buildable with currently available technologies.

This thesis aims to:
1) change the public perception of the internet as a non-physical thing, and data centers as purely functional infrastructural objects without any deeper cultural significance and
2) propose a new architectural language for the type.”

If this sounds interesting, make sure to get in touch and request a copy of the publication. I believe you can also find it in the Virginia Tech library. Please don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail if you want to help me take this work further in the form of lectures, talks, advance research or actual construction.

Cheers,

Ivan

 

P.S. A few snippets from the final “book”:

 

What is the "cloud"?

What is the “cloud”?

 

What we thought was ephemeral, is actually very physical: the rise of silicon materiality

The cloud – that we thought was ephemeral – is actually very physical. It signifies the rise of a “silicon materiality”.

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Data centers, spread out across the city, form a rhizome. They contribute to their surroundings via their unique spatial features, and become public spaces.

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They could be anything.

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A case study of a new-age super-dense data center on Broadway.

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As seen from Lafayette St…

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…and from Broadway.

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In section.

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In plan.

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Exposing the structure within.

Back in the days when Virtual Reality was still new and hip, Internet looked very different too. Take a look at this scene from “Johnny Mnemonic”:

I guess, back in the days of early cyberpunk the space of the Internet was visualized as an actual SPACE, so reminiscent of our urban space. The ease and speed of navigation in that space might have been a bit worse, but the “architecture” of it was just über-cool, don’t you think? In that Space it was still you, who moved towards a web-page, not the page that moved towards you. Thus, I assume the experience of “browsing” was totally different and was closer to flight.

I bet that space would have run into all the same spatial issues, as our real space does (like: how do you grow effectively and not end up on the outskirts? – literally). Would it have allowed for such randomness of inquiries and links, and the lightning-fast “hopping” from point A to point D, to point R as the current Internet allows? I don’t think so. It’s exactly the a-spatiality of the modern Internet that allows for its speed.

Nevertheless, the Internet of the 90’s looked awesome! May-be beef-up the graphics just a bit, but that’s about it..

Long live cyberpunk!