Data centers are a fundamental component of today’s political, cultural and socio-economic landscapes. A new form of architecture for data and machines – one almost liberated from human intervention and entirely shaped by technological rationales – data centers are the testing ground of alternative models for post-human institutions. From the new spatial and material conditions that data centers bring together, to the network infrastructures that enable them, to the residual cohabitation of humans and non-humans, these apparently anonymous architectures are mobilised as emerging urban prototypes.
Across Scales & Geographies
The day long program of presentations and discussions addressed the different forms of physical, legal and software architecture. Speakers looked into the socio-economic and environmental implications of the rapidly expanding industry, the political climates that shape it; the physical infrastructures of fiber optic cables and forms of sovereignty they install or erase. The relationship between human-exclusionary ‘white spaces’ inside data centers, and grey areas in the law, allowing for tax evasion and geographies of avoidance to proliferate. From cybersecurity to physical fortification of buildings, from the Dutch countryside to the Arctic Circle, the notion of the data center served to stimulate a broader discussion on the role of architect in designing for new typology, and emerging spatial models for human and non-human cohabitation.
The event was organised in collaboration with OMA and Royal College of Art (London).
The entire programme was recorded on video.
- Kamil Dalkir (RCA)
- Stijn Grove (Dutch Data Center Association)
- Femke Herregraven
- Mike Klerks & Niels Hensen (ITB2)
- Mark Minkjan (Failed Architecture)
- Mirva Salminen (Arctic Center; University of Lapland)
- Oliver Smith (Demystification Committee)
- Marina Otero Verzier (Het Nieuwe Instituut)
- Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (OMA; Partner)
- Joost Vos (Benthem Crouwel Architects)
- Alessandra Ponte (Université de Montreal)
This event was a part of Automated Landscapes, a long-term collaborative research initiative on the implications of automation for the built environment, launched in 2017 by Het Nieuwe Instituut, directed by its Research Department, and presented in the exhibition WORK, BODY, LEISURE in the Dutch pavilion at at the Biennale Architettura 2018. The project addresses the contemporary emergence of distinct types of spatial configurations and conditions engendered and afforded by automation. The initiative is also part of OMA’s current research and development on data centers and the countryside.