Harnessing the Future

Harnessing the Future: How the Internet’s Physical Digital Infrastructure Influences Landscape, Local Economies, and the Ecologies of Communities.

Project Goal:
Envision strategies to generate sustainable and beneficial legacies for communities upon the arrival of a large infrastructure project in their backyard. By understanding and harnessing the demographic changes, improvements in local infrastructure and long-term financial infusions that are manifested in these situations, local communities stand to emerge and evolve equipped to nurture a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine their futures without compromising their past and present.

Project Site:
Located in Western Ireland, the site presents the typical small historic community being confronted with this scenario as a representation of similar events happening around the world. The area has an ancient history, strong cultural traditions, strict environmental regulations, a comprehensive planning process, while simultaneously facing a strong need for economic development and job opportunities.

Studio Challenge:
Digital infrastructure has become the connective thread of today’s civilization weaving the virtual fabric of culture, community, and humanity from a historical compendium of events and facts to future explorations and manifests. The ‘cloud’ requires a robust network of physical infrastructure to power, store, consume and distribute the past and future knowledge we create and rediscover every day. Data Centers are the nodal nexus that houses, protects, and redistributes this data, where the demand for these facilities is only increasing. The scale of these projects is not without precedent and requires an intervention to graciously affect hundreds of acres, harness the access to electrical power, water resources, roadway infrastructures, and a multi-year construction cycle which can populate the site with an influx of over 1500 workers.

The quest will be to create a legacy of positive impacts for the host communities. This studio will examine the opportunities to harness the investments that preserve the sanctity of history, protect environmental integrity, accommodate the needs of the construction industry, and orchestrate economic benefits for the greater good and quality of life.

The studio will study precedents, undertake research, and develop watershed solutions enhancing the welfare and wellbeing of the community for generations to come.”. To succeed, each project will need a compelling storyline that presents the idea, a clear vision of how to implement it, and a creative visual immersion that brings to life this delicate balance of preserving the integrity of the existing culture while creating new possibilities that galvanize a certainty for the future

The studio will meet every Tuesday and Thursday from August 30 through December 2, with the final projects due December 8th and presentations December 9th and 10th. The first 5 weeks will be spent in teams, investigating, and understanding the local, ecology, history, culture, and economic conditions, while the remaining 8 will be devoted to individual projects. The Mid-term presentations will be October 5 and 7th, a week earlier than the academic calendar to allow for more time to be spent on Individual projects. Every other week will be virtual with either desk crits or conversations local or industry experts.

This course has an irregular meeting schedule. Studio sessions will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a few exceptions, but will not meet every week. Thomas Oslund and Catherine Murray will be in residence (Cambridge) during the weeks of 8/30, 9/13, 10/4, 10/11, 10/25, 11/8, 11/29, 12/7