M.Arch Thesis Fall 2011
Faculty Advisor: Michael Meredith
Project Title: CIT: Collective Information Topography
As information becomes digital spaces that used to hold it together become useless. Nowhere is this condition more evident than in a library. Rather than declaring the institution useless or introducing an immediate extrinsic function this thesis chooses to explore the opportunities its functional stasis opens.
Using the dynamics of massive urban expansion the thesis project proposes to import a public digital library into a deficient urban environment of emerging China. Here, rapid urbanization process, driven mainly by the market forces, renders public realm obsolete in its failed attempts to govern the changes and inhabit them.
It is particularly visible in the recent growth of Pearl River Delta. The imbalance between oversupply commodity buildings and the undersupplied municipal necessities illustrates the obsession with abundance and massive scale. It feeds the system of capital fueling the demand of quantity rather than producing quality.
Referred to as an Anglo-American phenomenon, the public library was largely a product of industrial revolution both in Britain and United States. With increasing industrialization, the workforce, no longer primarily employed in farm labor, became concentrated in factory towns and cities. The educability of this workforce became a matter of increasing concern on both sides of Atlantic. The drive towards the education of working class resulted in the creation of a number of agencies of self-enlightenment.
It is estimated that in the year 2007, 94% of the world’s technologically stored information was digital (up from a mere 3% in 1993). The year 2002 is assumed to be the year when human kind was able to store more information in digital, than in analog format. It is the 'beginning of the digital age'.
Technology seems to be the main architect of modern life. As it stands today, it can be argued, it will slowly transform everything and everybody in a single common denominator: information. With the expected advent of a technological totality another milestone is about to be reached. The blurring of the physical with the virtual seems to hold endless promise.
DIGITAL PUBLIC LIBRARY
The new library is a center for activities in the field of digital information. It serves as a public facility to help people navigate, freely retrieve, process and exchange information and provides facilities for the
production of new information. It is a platform for a guided navigation through different formats of digital data - text, sound and image. It expands the field of its publicness through a multiplicity of free-access spaces open to the exploration of its developable software.