As knowledge changes in the face of digital culture, the identity of architecture as a physical edifice forms a fraught relationship with the mutating memory of itself stored in virtual space. In light of this tension, a question remains as to how new forms of digital engagement alter our traditional understanding of architecture as a recorder of collective memory and experience. Addressing the cultural epistemological shift experienced in today’s systems of information storage, my thesis considers the architectural consequences of this shift, exploring the ways in which architectural form can physically manifest the difference between the contemporary “shape” of knowledge presented by the digital database and older forms of knowledge collection and organization. Highlighting this difference, my thesis overlays a new method of form making onto existing historical architectural types employed in the construction of archival spaces, leveraging the movement from the real to the representational through the exploration of projection techniques that measure, order, and filter information within a contemporary digital language.
The accretion of information in contemporary digital culture desires a new archival form. In reflecting upon the epistemological capacities of contemporary architecture, my thesis proposes a new archive in the form of a manuscript conservation and digitization center for the British Library in London. Matching archival types to urban corollaries found in the neighborhood of Bloomsbury, the new library archive brings together forms of knowledge, types, and tools into fragments that aggregate and interact on the site with a productive tension that gives us cause to critically reflect on the past and project ahead to the future.