The most significant architectural spaces in the world are now entirely empty of people. The data centres, telecommunications networks, distribution warehouses, unmanned ports and industrialised agriculture that define the very nature of who we are today are at the same time places we can never visit. Instead they are occupied by server stacks and hard drives, logistics bots and mobile shelving units, autonomous cranes and container ships, robot vacuum cleaners and connected toasters, driverless tractors and taxis. This issue is an atlas of sites, architectures and infrastructures that are not built for us, but whose form, materiality and purpose is configured to anticipate the logics of machine vision and habitation rather than our own. We are said to be living in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, in which humans are the dominant force shaping the planet. This collection of spaces, however, more accurately constitutes an era of the Post-Anthropocene, a period where it is technology and artificial intelligence that now computes, conditions and constructs our world. Marking the end of human centred design, the issue turns its attention to the new typologies of the post-human, architecture without people and our endless expanse of Machine Landscapes.
Contributors: Merve Bedir and Jason Hilgeort, Benjamin Bratton, Ingrid Burrington, Alice Gorman, Jesse LeCavalier, Clare Lyster, Geoff Manaugh, Tim Maughan, Simone Niquille and Trevor Paglen.
Featured interviews: Rem Koolhaas of OMA; Deborah Harrison, designer of Microsoft’s Cortana, and AI social media influencer Lil Miquela; and Paul Inglis and Victor Martinez, designers of the urban landscapes of Blade Runner 2049.