Uni(wi)fied: Community-owned Internet Infrastructure for Harlem
Central and East Harlem are two of Manhattan’s least digitally connected neighborhoods, and their Community Board statements feature stable access to internet as a priority. Uni(wi)fied will donate sculptural and culturally grounded wifi structures in Central and East Harlem that are community-based and community-owned. The project aims to bridge the digital divide which has widened during the pandemic and serve as a catalyst for the expansion of low-cost, self-sustained internet infrastructural systems.
In its inaugural year (supported by the 2021-22 GSAPP Incubator Prize), Uni(wi)fied has installed test nodes at St. Aloysius Church and W 120th Open Street, in partnership with the independent grassroots internet provider NYC Mesh (nycmesh.net), to monitor the coverage and performance of NYC Mesh’s wifi systems in Harlem. Uni(wi)fied has also initiated dialogues with residents, activists, and Manhattan Community Board 10 (Central Harlem)’s Parks, Transportation, and Economic Development committees.
In the second phase of the project (GSAPP Incubator Prize 2022/2023), Uni(wi)fied will develop pilot structures to be installed in one or more publicly accessible sites in Harlem, and jump-start design and production processes through collaborations with local cultural institutions, youth organizations, engineering firms, and fabrication shops.
Uni(wi)fied seeks to empower communities through engaging residents in iterative design explorations aimed at improving their built environments, and offering community-specific working methods.
Fabrizio Furiassi received his Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia GSAPP in 2019, and his MArch and BSc from La Sapienza University of Rome. He also studied at the Moscow Institute of Architecture, and completed the postgraduate research program at the Strelka Institute. Fabrizio has over ten years of international experience at architecture firms and cultural institutions, including at Obra Architects and the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery (GSAPP Exhibitions) in New York. He currently teaches architectural history/theory and design studio at Parsons The New School, is a unit tutor for the Architectural Association Visiting School in Seoul, and is a PhD candidate in architectural history at the University of Basel.
Uni(wi)fied is being developed in collaboration with Catherine Ahn (Princeton ’20).
Distributed Architecture (Ahn + Furiassi) is a New York-based collaborative practice committed to designing participatory and instigative processes that bring equity, diversity, and inclusion into the built environment.
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