Ether 13 Outposts for Ether

Los Angeles is the capital of ether, but cities throughout the world are dominated by its silent outposts. Carrier hotels, telecom hotels, data hotels, carrier neutral collocation facilities, exchanges, and switching stations are generally found in the densest part of a city. Los Angeles is remarkable because of the concentration of ether into one structure and because of the density of ether’s production in that city. By contrast, in Manhattan, there are half a dozen buildings devoted largely to telecommunications. Two structures serve to demonstrate the typologies and approaches taken in Manhattan and other cities.

32 Avenue of the Americas was designed by Ralph Walker and built in 1932 to house AT&T’s offices and equipment for transatlantic communications. 32 Avenue of the Americas has been remodeled by Tyco International to serve as the New York TelExchange Center. Tenants are encouraged to take advantage of Tyco’s transatlantic fiber optic network, which terminates here.

The AT&T Long Lines Building at 33 Thomas Street was built in 1974, designed by John Carl Warnecke & Associates. If One Wilshire is “a decorated shed,” Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown would call the Long Lines building a “duck,” its function indissociable from its form. Clad in pink Swedish granite, the Long Lines Building was built to resist nuclear blast and fallout and to be self-sufficient for two weeks. Each floor is 6 meters in height, providing room for AT&T’s equipment. Unlike One Wilshire or 32 Avenue of the Americas, this facility is only for AT&T, the largest telecommunications company in the United States.