Marina Otero Wins 2022 Wheelwright Award

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Marina Otero Wins 2022 Wheelwright Award

Marina Otero is announced as the winner of the Wheelwright Prize 2022, with a project on data storage that explores “the architecture to host the metaverse”

The 2022 Harvard Graduate School of Design Wheelwright Prize goes to Marina Otero, it was announced today. The curator and scholar won the prestigious win this year with her “Future Storage: Architectures to Host the Metaverse” proposal, which focuses on data storage through architectural and digital lenses.

“While there is an urgent need to find new ways of understanding progress, imagining alternative futures under current circumstances is proving problematic. In this context, the proposal is a deeply optimistic project that envisions other possible worlds: post-anthropocentric, ecological and plural,” explains Otero. “This award reaffirms my confidence in the ability of this research to bring about new paradigms of data consumption and storage, expressly to make a difference.

“Data centers may not seem like an exciting place for an architectural project. However, the data industry’s enormous scale of operations and its growing ubiquity and importance in the contemporary world – coupled with its openness to innovation and concurrent pressures to find better socio-ecological models – create an environment fertile ground for experimentation and action.

Marina Otero. Photography: Boudewijn Bollmann

Otero is currently the head of the master’s degree in social design at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. She will, however, begin her Wheelwright-focused research this summer, which will include both studies and site visits around the world, including Iceland, Chile and Sweden.

Data storage is in unprecedented demand today and Otero’s work aims to shed light on architecture’s response to the subject, reimagining digital infrastructures. As with previous Wheelwright winners – architect Germane Barnes received the 2021 prize – the $100,000 prize will fund two years of Otero’s research and journey towards its goal.

Otero was praised by awarding body Wheelwright 2022 for its innovative and significant proposal, which added that the result “will result in the world’s first data center architecture design manual, as well as hardware open source courses and public programming”. §

“After Belonging: In Residence”, presented at the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale (After Belonging: A Triennale In Residence, On Residence and the Ways We Stay in Transit). Image credit: After Belonging Agency (Lluís Casanovas, Ignacio Galán, Carlos Mínguez, Alejandra Navarrete and Marina Otero)

‘I See That I See What You Don’t See’, Dutch contribution to La XXII Triennale di Milano, 2019, curated by Angela Rui, Marina Otero and Francien van Westrenen. Photography: Daria Scagliola

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