One Wilshire building: when digital is material
Reading this summer "Blue Monday: Stories of Absurd Realities and Natural Philosophies by Robert Sumrell and Kazys Varnelis was a good experience, as the whole book itself is insightful and written exactly in the sort of style I like. It's basically a compendium of stories that may seem odd but which have important implications. The most interesting, with regards to my interests is Ether. Some excerpts I found relevant:
"If Ether were to have a palace, it would have to be the 39-story One Wilshire tower in downtown Los Angeles. (...) One Wilshire unequivocally declares that form follows function. (...) Damaged by the decentralizing policies of Cold War urbanism and increasingly threatened by the sprawling suburbs, the congested vertical urban core began to empty in the 1970s. (...) Eventually, however, a new opportunity presented itself and One Wilshire’s height returned to its advantage. With the deregulation of the telecommunications industry, long distance carrier MCI, which had its own nationwide microwave network, required a tall structure on which to install microwave antennas in close proximity to the AT&T (...) One Wilshire is not only a staging ground for carriers connecting to the local system, it is a key peer-to-peer connection point. (...) Because space in One Wilshire is at such a premium, companies run conduit to adjacent structures. Over a dozen nearby buildings have been converted to such telecom hotels, providing bases to telephone and Internet companies seeking locations near the fountain of data at One Wilshire. This centralization of information defies predictions that the Internet and new technologies will undo cities. But neither does it lead to a revival of downtown in classical terms. (...) The virtual is generally perceived as a drive against the spatial or physical world. Nevertheless, as One Wilshire demonstrates, the virtual world requires an infrastructure that exists in the physical and spatial world. (...) Massive telecommunicational hubs like One Wilshire and their radial networks make the virtual world possible, and firmly ground it into the concrete cityscape."
Why do I blog this? as one of the example I extracted from "Blue Monday", the story about One Wilshire is important because it's an example of how digitality is made possible through materiality. It's also very interesting to see that "space matters", leading companies to locate their servers farms and telecom hotels near this hub. Furthermore, I find curious the presence of such artifacts in cityscape. Here in Switzerland, it's common that server farms (from banks for example) are scattered around the country leading real farms to be also server farms.