Architecture3DReid Student Prize 2021

Masters student Tiia Partanen wins UK student prize with project challenging the sustainabilty and accessibility of Big Data storage by reusing and repurposing obsolete infrastructure from WW2 bunkers to decommissioned oil rigs.

Cloud Cooperative, Towards a New Internet


Today, in the Web 2.0., private corporations and powerful governments hold a monopoly over all flows of information – by owning the infrastructure of the internet (the data centres, the broadband networks, the ISPs) they own the data. With our private information sold to the highest bidder and with one person’s yearly email correspondence costing 0.6 tonnes in carbon dioxide – the system, as we know it, requires an overhaul. 

At its core, the commoditization of data has created a fundamental asymmetry in power between institutions (who know everything) and individuals (who know nothing): The Cloud Cooperative was created to correct this power imbalance, to give people power over their own data. Starting with a pilot project in Edinburgh, the Cooperative proposes a phased evolution towards a decentralized internet. Members are provided with access to secure cloud storage and anonymous peer-to-peer browsing: their data is processed and stored within infrastructure that is transparent, local, and community-owned 

See details of Tiia's Project in our Showcase

With such a high quality of work on display, choosing a shortlist was a significant challenge in itself but, following a series of excellent presentations by the final five, a clear winner emerged in the shape of Tiia Paternan’s Cloud Cooperative project. 

The blank anonymity and secrecy of data centres may not present an obvious starting point for the forging of an inspirational piece of architecture but, through interrogation of the way in which data transfer now underpins our lives and in the rethinking of our contractual relationship with this, Tiia has created an ambitious, bold and well considered project, located on the coastline of Edinburgh. Beautifully presented, a strong narrative thread runs from the point of agreement between the cooperative and data providers, through to the final built form. 

Chris Dobson, Concept Director, 3DReid

Read 3DReid's full article on Tiia's project and watch her presentation to the judges