Outside the Box

Open Access
Underwood, Matthew Alexander
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Architecture
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Christine Lee Gorby, Thesis Supervisor
  • Scott W Wing, Honors Advisor
  • port
  • intermodal
  • container
  • data
  • center
  • colocation
This exploration began by looking at ports as places of distribution and global connection, and as an architectural typology that revolutionized global trade. In today’s world of Google, Facebook, and the NSA, data centers are becoming the new centers for distribution, connection, and commodification. These infrastructures allow us to connect almost anything to almost anywhere - and yet, the structures associated with these processes are closed off and restricted to the public. These intentionally anonymous and aloof typologies are essentially dedicated to human well-being but the structures themselves do little to reflect this. This counterintuitive notion can be changed through architecture to create places that are significant and healthy both for industry and for public space. Focusing on the Port of Long Beach in California, I seek to redefine the identity of the port as part of the modern city rather than as an exclusive economic mechanism acting in isolation from everyday life, camouflaged from the public psyche. Through architecture, technology, and spatial collision, I seek to create experiences of engagement that highlight the extent of our disconnect with a larger understanding of what it takes for our globalized world to function.