The internet became a democratic, sprawling and decentralised tool and is slowly being revised as state-run, monitored and centralised. Now the success of the functionality of the internet is met with the political inclinations of where the internet 'resides'. The People's Republic of China's (PRC) revised version of the internet omits search keywords and webpages, to protect 'harmful information on the internet from influencing and poisoning young people.' The irony is that the omitted keywords and webpages contain information about the PRC and its "harmful" conducts (most notably, keywords such as 'Tiananmen' and 'democracy').
The architecture serves here as a concern for the socio-informational condition that exists in the PRC.
This project is a student housing complex in which each apartment is physically connected to a fortified cable linking it to a central, ISP that bypasses the Great Firewall of China. An island of free-flowing information. As students have always been instigators of mass demonstration (eg. Kent State, May '68 and the anti-Bologna process), this space gives them the opportunity to react.
The project breaks with a truly Orwellian world where memory is the only tool to access what is now omitted and addresses two paradoxes: a China that does not even seek to know the omitted information and, where citizens are asked to monitor fellow citizens. A mixture of 'conscious ignorance' and a deep sense of national pride (in that many believe the government is right and its actions are just) allows this condition to continue. The architecture itself serves to ignite an inquiry into what is real.
Location of the "Guangzhou Fortified Student Housing" in Guangzhou , China.
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Elevation showing the fortified connection from each apartment window. It is expressed in an elaborate architectural moment to reflect its urgency.