Architectural designer Kenneth Garnett speculates on the state of future data centers in the digital age in his thesis work, ‘cloud’.
The world has evolved due to the growth and advancements in technology. There is a continuous transition in our lives, which is the digitization of information.
Due to the immense growth in data, the reconfiguration of data collection is an inevitable result. Data centers, which are structures that house this digital information, are quickly becoming the most critical infrastructural objects in the world. While they are considered imperative to our everyday function, they are positioned in isolated areas with common aesthetic expression. Garnett sees an opportunity for the built environment; positioning data centers in an urban setting revealing itself to the greater public. Thus creating a monumental symbol and representing its role of the current era, the digital age.
Garnett recognizes the declination of public programs effected by the digital era. He visits the role of libraries and museums as an opportunity to re-purpose and transform into spaces of gathering and sharing information for the future.
His thesis proposes a roadmap for possible future developments of a new building typology, considering our access to information and technology. Through relocating future data centers in an urban environment, Garnett presents the opportunity to pair it with programs seeking identity in the digital age. Furthermore, recognizing the amount of heat produced by data centers and its negative effect to the environment, he reacts to the heat pollution by placing the building adjacent the East River, actively cooling the building by using sea water tunnels to filter water in the process of a geothermal cooling system for renewable energy. A fresh breath of life for conventional structures emerges, creating a new expression of social interaction and information accessibility.
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