The Cybernetic Forest

In the atelier Urban Spatial Experimentation (USE) our focus is very much on the development of a strong narrative and concept for each individual intervention. Our site for the year was a beautiful brownfield called Pomona Island. Sandwiched between the Bridgewater canal and the River Irwell, it was once a thriving industrial dockland but has since become a beautiful, overgrown oasis in the heart of Manchester.

For my Project, The Cybernetic Forest, I imagined a revival of Pomona’s industrial past in the form of digital industries for the future and used this development as a means to preserve the surrounding nature. The overarching aim being to create a harmony and symbiosis between nature and technology. My project takes its name after a line from the poem ‘All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace’ by Richard Brautigan.

Over the year The Cybernetic Forest would manifest itself as a data centre and telecommunications infrastructure sat within the landscape of Pomona, which is left to grow naturally wild. The computers in the data centre are cooled by fresh water drawn up from the river Irwell. I then designed in a botanical greenhouse to be kept hot by the excess heat generated from the data centre. Thus, creating a point of direct symbiosis between technology and nature. Pomona Island, the greenhouse and viewing platforms in the masts, would all be open for the public to visit.