Infrastructure Space is a relatively new atelier in name; however it has a longstanding history at Manchester School of Architecture. In the 1990s, Landscape + Urbanism (L+U), was an atelier founded to address the critical territory defined by contemporary theorists that saw no distinction between the fabric and fabrication of space and viewed the built environment as a continuous field. The main proponents of this way of thinking were Stan Allen, James Corner, Ignasi de Sola-Morales and, to some extent, Rem Koolhaas. These foundations still have some currency today and there continues to be new writing and teaching attached to the various interpretations of ‘landscape urbanism’.
Building upon L+U, the [Re_Map] atelier (2008-16) sought to advance the methods of mapping and representation inherent in landscape urbanism through novel computational methods. Datasets expanded massively as machine learning was on the horizon and the ability to geo-locate data as a means of highlighting latent social, environmental and cultural conditions of place was developed and deployed through [Re-Map] projects and presented at several global conferences. [Re_Map] was critically engaged with the system city and spaces of flows, a position that drew upon the idea of the continuous field and combined it with systems thinking. The mechanical metaphors so bound with modernism were replaced by mathematical models that referenced biological systems – the city as a complex organism. By the middle of the 2010s, data mapping became so ubiquitous it was no longer a novel method, it was simply one of the many means by which we interrogate space – you only have to watch election night coverage to see how this has seeped into popular media.
Infrastructure Space was established in 2017 to acknowledge the infrastructural turn in architectural theory, to embrace the thinking and methods established in L+U and [Re_Map] and to explore new territory, specifically the interface between digital communications, infrastructure and the production of space no longer limited to urban contexts, but accepting the often intangible manufactured nature of most British landscapes. This history of the atelier and its development over a quarter of a century, consistently adapting to new theory and new realities means that it has both a core foundation of texts that underpin and contextualise it, as well as new readings with which we attempt to interpret and synthesise ideas into form.
See our Data Mapping Cornwall project.
Consultants: Aaron Wall (Roscoe), Ben Porter (Hawkins\Brown), Ben Robinson (Hawkins\Brown), Chris Wong (Gillespies), David Connor (David Connor Design), David Euinton (Allies and Morrison Architects), Jack Penford Baker (Haptic Architects), Jack Stewart (Hawkins\Brown), Jonathan Harper (Rapleys), Julia Galves (Hawkins\Brown), Michael Walsh (IBI Group), Peter Skidmore (Stride Treglown), Steve Reynolds (Westlakes), Simon Walker (UKNNL), Vaseem Bhatti (ehquestionmark).
Special thanks to: Florence Arts Center, FP McCann, RG Group, SimpsonHaugh.