My photography is featured in this month’s “The Architectural Review” Magazine. The October edition is all about Energy and seeks to make visible the often-obscured links between buildings and the energy sources they are built from, and around.
In the middle of the pandemic, I was commissioned by Microsoft to capture Project Natick.
Project Natick is Microsoft’s research into the feasibility of an underwater datacentre, to determine whether it is logistically, environmentally, and economically practical. The Northern Isles datacentre was deployed 117 feet deep to the seafloor in spring 2018. For the next 2 years, team members tested and monitored the performance and reliability of the datacentre’s servers.
Part of Microsoft’s aim was to assess whether submerged datacentres use less energy than those on land. Servers generate heat while operating but work best at low temperatures, so land-based centres demand energy-guzzling cooling systems. The consistently cool underwater environment allowed Microsoft to opt for the sort of energy-efficient heat-exchange plumbing more normally found on submarines. Project Natick team selected the Orkney Islands for the Northern Isles deployment in part because the grid there is supplied 100% by wind and solar as well as experimental green energy technologies under development at the European Marine Energy Centre.
The Architectural Review is a monthly international architectural magazine. It has been published in London since 1896. Its articles cover the built environment – which includes landscape, building design, interior design and urbanism – as well as theory of these subjects.