Alex Alaimo

Alex Alaimo

New York, NY, US


Datacenter: The Cloud for the City

Point of Presence internet exchange (POPix) intends to bring the internet to life in the city.  Conceptually it reaveals the physicallity of the internets subterreanean fiber optic network. Functionally it is where your email is routed through in the nano second before it is deleived to your recepiant. It also inverts the typical rural  ‘datacenter’ which are fortresses in countryside hidden from public veiw.  Located at Canal and Varick Streets it is highly visiable and invited the public in through an interactive and technology infused public space at the ground plane.

Formally the concept is a tube that runs through a cloud. The tube drives everything. Using parmetric design tools the shape of the tube defines each floor plate and facade surface. The tube also contains mechanical systems and acts as a ventilation chimney to cool the hardware.
The public space is designed to engage the public with the object they stand beneath. There are three discrete public spaces, the interactive Kinect wall, POP temporary retail space and the media scape forum. These spaces take a technological approach to traditional space.


Programatically POPix has 16 floors 25% of which is mechanical space. Routers and servers consume vast amounts of energy and need cooling. The building only needs a handful of employees to run which have a level of adminatration offices. The public does not have access to the server levels but can gain a glance up the symbolic and functional tube. Aestherically it looks like a floating cloud with a bubbly ETFE facade resembling clouds and use of reflective material wrapping the lower portion of the structure to  ‘float the cloud’.

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Status: School Project
Location: New York, NY, US
My Role: Thesis Project
Additional Credits: Professor Mike Nolan