Critical Zone Sensor

The territory as a sensing device

Menno Brouwer

Based on the previously introduced idea of the territory as a sensing device, a mapping of Almaty at Earth Magnitude and its sensing devices investigates the spatial implications of the developed theoretical framework.

Sensing at Earth Magnitude

Figure 1 – Sensing at Earth Magnitude

At the base of the mapping lay the sensing devices in the Critical Zone. These devices include seismic arrays, infrasound stations, weather stations, radar instruments, etc. Their amount and location spatialize the idea of the territory as a sensing device. These sensing devices measure phenomena that occur at Earth Magnitude such as infrasound, electromagnetic waves, weather events and seismic activity. The sensing devices reveal Earth Magnitude as a hyperobject filled with energy and activity and encourages us to think about the positioning of an architectural project in this hyperobject.

Sensing at Earth Magnitude zoom

Figure 2 – Sensing at Earth Magnitude zoom

The mapped out sensing devices in the Critical Zone have been further investigated in an inventory. In this inventory, the architecture acts as an infrastructure for the sensing devices. This architecture consists out of specific spatial components that support the functionality of the sensing devices. For example, the spatial composition of the infrasound arrays allows for accurate source location. Steel pipe structures reduce surrounding noise and amplify the sound signal, resulting in a highly functional and specific spatial manifestation. Finally, the inventory reveals a relationship between sensing and sending. The devices are often part of a larger network and transmit the sensed data to a recording facility off site.

Inventory of sensing devices

Figure 3 – Inventory of sensing devices


TU Delft / Faculty of Architecture