Gorner Glacier Centre
A research Center for the Glacier

A proposal for architectural competition "Deterritorialized Living / Inhabiting the Computer Cabinet" (http://call.deterritorialized.org) launched by Fabric ch

David Colombini, Nichola Czyz
October 2013

An abstract space of 9 square meters is proposed for the competition, to be designed into a large computer cabinet that is inhabitable. Its exact shape, height and volume are to be defined by the candidates.

by taking advantage of the physical, informational, computational, chemical, biological, environmental or climatological features of the facility (inside and outside), the project focuses on creating a livable environment within the computer data cabinet (or personal data center). The outcome of the project could be to engage with the overall design or to develop a very specific device, object, software, interface and/or installation within this given framework.

Our proposal

imagine if the location of buildings was decided according to environmental benefit
what we mean by this is to take an example of a data server,
if we were to look for a way to live with a server, we already do without thinking too much about it, we should think of how we can benefit completely from the servers in a computer cabinet,
not just in that we find ourselves being able to connect to many parts of the world where the internet connects to physically
though invisibly
but also from all the other visible and invisible substantiality of that server... what we are talking about is the heat energy that is usually uncomfortable and well,

since our server connects us to many places, it doesn’t matter so much to us where our living place is, the server can connect
the kitchen to japan,
the study to finland,
the bedroom to paris,
the salon to amsterdam...
but the thing is, that in none too long, these places might not be physically accessible, due to climate change, in none too long we will be able to grow bananas in london and soon enough amsterdam could be under sea level, not to mention that in 2060 there will be 9 billion people on the earth...

a large contribution to these changes are the melting glaciers
imagine if the location of buildings was decided according to environmental benefit
we would locate data servers in cold places where they would lose heat to their surroundings, cooling naturally

That's for these reasons we choose to design a research glacier centre. The climatic datas we collect are directly hosted in our server at the center.

Our site, is situated beetween two small mountain lakes (that occur from melting snow) at the Gorner glacier, a big glacier near Zermatt and the Matterhorn in Switzerland.
This site has been choosen according to environmental benefit. Indeed, our servers will lose heat to their surroundings, coolingnaturally. We chose to fit into this context by becomming a part of that water cycle and temperature cycle (see video).

The site

We chose to find a way of living with the server by placing typical living spaces around the server
normal internal room temperature: 18oC
average lake temperature throughout the year: 5oC
1 server can heat 2m3 water by 1oC in 1 hour
a computer cabinet of 1m2 contains 12 servers
heat produced by cabinet in 1 hour: 7oC

in 3 hours of circulating around the servers the water can be between 20-27oC

imagine if the location of building’s spaces was decided according to environmental benefit

the bedroom would be quite warm because you are static 16oC
the study warm because you sit still 18oC
the bathroom warm because you are naked 18oC
the kitchen somewhere between since you are preparing (active)16oC or eating (static)

the spaces will be arranged according to the way light hot air will rise from the server, and cool dense air will fall from above
the living space will attenuate the heat in the spaces and become part of its context further by drawing snow melt water from the lake, which will be heated by the servers that will retain data monitoring the glaciers state and climate change information from various parts of the world, connecting the spaces to many other spaces that are all a part of the bigger water cycle.

View form the house

Climatic data structure