In the contemporary context, as has been said a multitude of times, we seem to be living in what is classified as a digital age. A worldwide pandemic has enhanced the popularity of digital avenues to communicate — such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and the multiplatform messaging app WhatsApp is reported to have over 2 billion active users. From an environmental standpoint, we see the migration of businesses to the “cloud” heralded as a sustainability win. In simplified terms and to pick out a specific example, companies can refrain from storing data on external hard drives, opting instead to store their data on online file hosting services.
Data Center: The Latest Architecture and News
Mobility, Managerial Competencies and the Future of Architectural Practice in The 2020's
As the world slowly adjusts to the "new normal," so too does the architecture industry. Data related to market size and workloads shows that the profession continued to grow even after the pandemic struck. Other statistics show how architects are starting to be hit by the present crisis – such as the fall in full-time work and rising unemployment. While these statistics could take one down a road of despair (or enthusiasm), there is more to the numbers: Mobility, digital and managerial competencies are framing the profession in the 2020's. Not only as data for the sector to approach the market and retain talent but also as strategies in the face of crises and technologies to come.
Architecture Without People: the Built Environment of Machines
Data centers, automated assembly lines, telecommunications facilities, and warehouses represent a very utilitarian aspect of the built environment, and yet they compose a particular kind of infrastructure within contemporary society, one that is fundamental to the development of everyday life. Rarely discussed within the profession, these new typologies have more recently penetrated the architectural discourse, raising questions about the architectural significance and design potential of the spaces sustaining the mechanics of today's world.
The Irish Pavilion for the 2021 Venice Biennale Explores the Impact of Data Production on Everyday Life
For this edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Irish Pavilion focuses on data technologies and their presence within the physical landscape, exploring the cultural end environmental implications of data production and consumption. Titled Entanglement and curated by the multidisciplinary research and design collective ANNEX, the exhibition challenges the presumed immateriality of the Cloud, highlighting the infrastructure of data production and its impact on everyday life while also examining Ireland’s role in the evolution of global communication.
Mecanoo's Qianhai Data Center is a "Digital Lighthouse" for Shenzhen
Mecanoo has unveiled their design for the Qianhai Data Center in Shenzhen, China, from which they received second prize in an international design competition. The 63,000-square-meter scheme, imagined as an urban beacon, consists of an opaque tower atop an open plinth with offices and support spaces.
The 113-meter-tall “digital lighthouse” is to be located within the 15-square-kilometer Qianhai Free Development Zone, where it will mark the arrival to the district and symbolize its innovative ambition.
Snøhetta Designs Sustainable Data Center as "The Body and Brain of Future Cities"
Snøhetta has released images of its proposed sustainable data center concept, named “The Spark.” The project seeks to address the typical high-energy-consuming typology of the data center, transforming it into an “energy-producing resource for communities to generate their own power.”
The proposal is adaptable for a wide range of contexts and can be scaled for any location around the world, fueling connected cities with energy from the center’s excess heat.
Plans Unveiled to Construct the World's Largest and Most Secure Data Center in Northern Norway
Plans have been revealed by American-Norwegian data company Kolos to construct the world's largest data center, a claim based on the amount of electrical power the site intends to draw from the grid to supply its banks of servers and cooling facilities. Located on a fjord in Ballangen, Norway, the proposed site sits within the Arctic Circle and would take advantage of the cold climate, low humidity, and the abundant supply of hydropower currently available in the area.
The Next Hyper-Efficient Data Centers May Be Located Underwater
From giant squids to sunken treasure, the ocean has a way of hiding secrets better than any other place on Earth – so why not hide your personal information down there too?
That scenario may soon be our reality, as Microsoft has unveiled that, for the past year and a half, they have been testing a prototype data center that is completely submerged underwater. Devised by Microsoft engineer Sean James, the theory argues that placing the massive server farms underwater could dramatically reduce both construction and cooling costs, as well as provide a reliable source of renewable energy and even improve their performance.
VIDEO: Inside A Data Center, The Architecture Of The Cloud
Have you ever wondered where your information goes when you save it to "The Cloud"? The answer is within giant data centers. According to reports, Facebook and Google's data centers resemble something from Science Fiction, while some could come straight from a Bond flick. In a new short film named Internet Machine, Filmmaker and Visual artist Timo Arnall takes us where few have been granted access, showing the world what "The Cloud" really is - a massive architectural space with extreme energy demands. To experience the power surging and hear the deafening hum of a data center, check out the trailer above.
How to Hack (and Design) a Data Center
The bank architect’s goal is to create a secure edifice. The bank robber’s? To subvert the edifice. And yet consider their commonality: their interaction with space. Both analyze plans and consider inefficiencies, both inhabit the space much differently than your average spectator. In fact, the Robber’s relationship with space is far more physical, urgent…nuanced. As Mehruss Ahi, a recent graduate from Woodbury University, puts it in his senior thesis: “The Architect is the Bank Robber…and the Bank Robber is the Architect.”
Ahi suggests a Robber-like “spatial hack” of the bank: an identification of its inefficiencies/vulnerabilities/paths of circulation. He also notes the necessity of giving priority to large storage space for goods rather than money (due to “the migration of banking services to the Web”). This new perspective, Ahi argues, will allow architects to design a smarter, more secure bank. The bank of the future.
Ahi’s assertion about the need for physical storage space (as banks turn to the Web), got me thinking. Our world depends less and less on physical storage, and more and more on the bits of information flying through the wires and cables of the internet. Ahi’s theory, while an interesting insight into bank design, is even more powerful when applied to the bank’s modern day equivalent: the Data Center.