The Riddle of the Stock Exchange & the Cloudscape

Since tuesday I have tried to clarify more how the ‘Roofscape/Cloudscape’ works with regards to telling real-time information that is easily understandable and related to the NYSE.


My initial idea of the separate buildings to show the global movements of trade is too complex to try and even decipher into a suitable and understandable roofscape. I decided to go back and research further into the Stock Market to come across a clear answer (and now I’m going to bore you all with what I discovered…)


Dow Jones Industrial Average

By looking into the acronyms that people recognise on the Stock Market, FTSE 100, Dow Jones etc. I discovered that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is used on the NYSE as an index to indicate how well generally the overall stock market is doing. It’s a finanical indicator/average of 30 different ‘blue chip stock’ companies that are considered to be major players in their respective industries. The average of the trades these companies make during trading hours is what creates the Dow Jones stock movements.

Dow Jones- Stock Market IndicatorLike all stocks on the Stock Market, the Dow Jones is monitored in real-time and you can individually see the trade progression of each of the 30 companies it its own right.

The way people can tell how well the market is doing, in addition to how they calculate whether the “FTSE is up 100 points”, is based on it’s value at the close of day (16.00) the previous day. In addition to points, a percentage is calculated to indicate how much he DJIA has changed since the previous day’s close, in either direction.

Dow jones chart


Influenced by this method of mapping data, and in discuission about the moving roofscape, I have created rough initial concept sketches to show whats happening on the NYSE through the movement of the roof.

Roofscape Axo

Through the movement of these pillars both in positive and negative, a different landscpape is created every trading day to reflect the stock market. The pillars are large enough for people to walk on and once trading has ended, the pillars stay still until reset for the next trading day. They create an interesting landscape which becomes a new playground for the residents of Chelsea & New York as a whole. In addition, at eye level, the roofscape seems to mirror the city and create a skyline (and inverted skyline).

Axo 2 edit

Roofscape Layout

The most central row of moving pillars is the DJIA, with 15 rows on each side, representing the 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones. Either side of the DJIA is a walkway which allows people to walk though and compare the DJIA with the 30 companies. I’m unsure as to whether the DJIA should be more noticiable- either alot taller, or a different colour- but more distinguishable in some way.


Underneath, when stocks go into minus percentages, a similar movement happens, but pillars extend down from the ceiling. When seen from afar, a cloud like structure is produced, which is an interesting link to Data Clouds created in both the project and for storage of data, hence names ‘Cloudscape’ for the time being.

Roofscape Long The level of the roof between the two sets of pillars is always the level of the previous days final value, so if the market hasnt changed much from the previous day, the pillars will be quite small, similarly, if there has been huge changes in value, the pillars grow taller (but to a max. of around 2.5m atm)

If the pillars are made of a perspex/glass/translucent material, they can be lit up at night which would create an almost eerie cloud shape at the end of the pier (where there is little/no artifical lighting) and this could still be accessed by the public to be used as a space until after dark.

Roofscape dark


Theatre of the SE: The Bell

I originally missed the importance of the Bell in the SE, which is rung to signify the opening and closing of the NYSE. Until I live streamed the opening of the NYSE yesterday, I didnt realise the amount of ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ that goes into ringing a bell, And this happens everyday! Each day a different Stock Market company, Governor, Charity, Sports Team, Armed Forces etc. rings the bell, and the amount of theatrics involved depends on who is ringing (pressing a button) for the bell. Generally a huge crowd of people pile into a small balcony overlooking the trading floor, and proceed to clap for 5 minutes, take selfies(?!) and pictures of the trading floor from the balcony, and other such antics. It is quite a interesting thing and a large part of the NYSE so I would somehow like to include this aspect into my design. Below are some of my favourite bell ringing ceremonies found so far….


Theatre of the SE: Outcry

There are many reasons why there are traders still in the NYSE, and why they havent yet gone completely digital like NASDAQ (another important stock market in the US) or like the London SE (which went fully digital in 1986). 79% of trades on the NYSE are done electronically, but open outcry/ physical trading is only used for complex and smaller trades as humans arent able to keep up with the demands and volume of trades for larger companies. Traders feel they put a face to the “battle of the robots” and theres an emotion in investing.

Server Rooms

Having done some research into what environmental aspects are needed for designs of server rooms, there seems to be mixed information. Some say there must be no windows into the server rooms for security and sound purposes, but I think as data on the NYSE is instantly public on the internet, the confidentiality of the data is less crucial. Plus with small 100mm or so slits for windows, getting into the server room could be difficult. Thick, sound-proofed glass will help keep noise out. Videos I have watched in server rooms of microsoft etc. show people walking through and around the rows of servers, so I should be able to assume the server rooms can be used as habitable space. A monitoring room will also be adjacent to the server rooms with windows looking in so people cn see the information of what the traders are doing.


Traders in their distinctive blue coats will walk around the server room with handheld devices which they track and make trades on. The servers will be clustered in a way, similar to the current SE, which groups them in relation to what they trade, so the traders will still have to walk through the city of servers to get to the cluster for their trade as distance & proximity is still key in the digital world.


The Piers

I want to somehow incorporate the piers into the architecture- not sure just, but one idea I’ve had is concrete circular pillars coming down though the enclosed staircases. I also like the idea of large sitting steps (similar to those we sat on over the road on the High Line) going down to the waters edge where the original columns are and this will be affected by tidal changes thoughout the day. I also want a glass floor in places so you can see the original columns as new concrete columns will be used to support the new building. There can also be column shapes coming though the floor level to create seating areas and outdoor lanscpaing.


Initial Concept

Initial Concept 2

(There will a better title) but I’ve created an initial concept form which incorporates all the elements I want to include in the design, but not at all refined yet in terms of archietctual design. I worked from the roofscape down as it is the more refined part of the building design. I will work on this and plans etc. for tuesday’s tutorial.

One thought on “The Riddle of the Stock Exchange & the Cloudscape

  1. Great progress on the roofscape. It would be good to annotate the drawings to show how the roofs cape is read, i.e. explaining the vertical scale along which the heights and depths vary. And annotate to explain the reading of the roof level between the pillars that you mention (I am not sure I fully understand what you refer to here).

    Are you working on looking at how these movements will be achieved? This would be a good conversation to have with Charles if you are not doing so already. You have those precedents so we should start to see drawings of how you propose this will function in your project. Work towards having something on this for Tuesday as now is the time to start answering ‘how?’

    The research that you have done into what is needed to house the servers is good so draw this and start to work it into a design, again answering ‘how?’. And of course, draw the propsed distribution of the servers that you talk about – highlighting why proximity alnd location is still key even at this scale.

    The initial concept drawing is a good start and now see what elememts can be further refined. I feel the roofscape could be more integrated to the overall form rather than an element placed on top. Can the plan of the ground level be mapped to reveal some of the pillars, thus breaking its blockiness? Do the piers puncture the ground? Are there moments when one can see down into the water through openings in the ground? What is the relationship to the water? The steps that you suggest feel like a gesture not dissimilar to the existing SM. Can you break into this angular symmetry perhaps informed by the piers? The great hand drawings that you did of the pier decay suggest more organically stepped forms that could redraw this current block. If the perforated cladding is important and to be carried forward be specific about what this is and understand what its capabilities are, does it suggest something other than a rectangular box or lead to it? I feel that some model making might start to benefit you now. Think back to our visit to TWBTA in NY, and how their experimentation with materials becomes scaled up to understand a facade for example.

    Looking forward to seeing developments on Tuesday!

Leave a Reply