Leading cultural researchers tell stories of places around the world. For the full spatial multimedia experience and more episodes visit www.placecloud.io.
An Aussie in Bloomsbury
London, United Kingdom. This viewpoint is about a building in Bloomsbury that was the centre of social justice work over a century ago. It’s 41 Russell Square—where an Australian relative of mine worked for several years following World War I. Find out what she has to do with Australia's most prestigious literary award.
Perhaps not the coke you might expect
Birmingham, United States. The larger of two coke works in Birmingham is the Alabama Byproducts Corporation (ABC) plant, with 132 ovens, making 730,000 tons of coke for the steel industry per year. There are only a half dozen independent merchant coke plants left in the USA, and this is one of the largest. More often coke is manufactured on site as part of the “integrated production” of Old Steel plants, where all the parts of production are concentrated in one place. The other coke works in Birmingham is next to this one.
Abandoned Pyramid Project
Bedford, United States. A partially constructed pyramid, now long abandoned. In 1979, Bedford, the "Limestone Capital of the World," received over $700,000 in government grants to build an eight-story replica of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, as well as a 650-foot-long rendition of the Great Wall of China, out of native limestone. Work proceeded until funds ran out in 1982.
Once a connectivity power house
8100 Boone Blvd. at Tysons Corner in Vienna, Virginia, was the original location for MAE-East, the first principal exchange point for the commercialized internet on the East Coast. It was set up in this building by Metropolitan Fiber Systems in 1992. Around 50% of internet traffic in the early 1990s is said to have passed through this point. Today it is a small but still well-connected data center, across the street from AT&T’s Government Solutions building.
Where the NSA intercepted the nation’s communications
San Francisco, United States. 611 Folsom in downtown San Francisco is one of AT&Ts principal telco buildings in the city, making it a major data center and internet connection point. The site gained some notoriety when the National Security Agency’s tap into the telephone company’s fiber backbone in the building (conducted out of Room 641A), was exposed to the public in 2006.
One of the “Big Three” networked buildings
San Juan Hill, United States. 60 Hudson Street is one of Manhattan’s “Big Three” networked buildings (the others are 32 Avenue of the Americas and 111 8th Ave.). Built in 1930, it was the former headquarters for Western Union. The meet-me room on the ninth floor is one of the most connected places in the world.