Welcome to the 2nd Manhattan District. This update, you will find, is very much like the previous version, in that the “district” is a dispersed territorial and organizational condition not tied to a specific, contiguous piece of terrain, but rather descriptive of a set of protocols, behaviors, personnel, and information. The original Manhattan District, of course, was primarily located in three places: Los Alamos, NM, Hanford, WA, and Oak Ridge, TN; though the “district” was found wherever (and with whomever) the knowledge of the Manhattan Project traveled.
The 2nd Manhattan Project matches the first in exuberance, ambition, and enormity. This version, however, is concerned equally with digital bits as it is with physical atoms, and it recognizes those two as companions in the 21st Century. The new instance of the Manhattan District is as easily found in your pocket, moving through undersea fiber optic lines, or floating in thin air among us.
This Project is a collection of design research speculating on the past, the present, and the possible futures of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other Manhattan Project sites, infrastructures, and architectures. Here you will find speculative proposals for ORNL and the larger Oak Ridge Reservation, including three new divisions of the Department of Energy and the architecture and science infrastructure they need. It is organized through 21 agents. Some of these agents are people, some of them are intelligent machines, some are collections, protocols, or behaviors, and some are agencies, bureaus, or institutes.