About Built in the Cloud

A digital repository for thoughts on the following topics:

  • architecture

  • construction

  • real estate development

  • urbanism

  • housing

  • technology

  • culture

  • California

Humanity has yet to come to terms with the drastic changes brought about by the Information Revolution of the early 21st Century. While we are more connected than ever, the fabric of society is being challenged by the cacophony of competing narratives within the social media realm.

Our best and brightest minds, drawn to the excitement of this new digital frontier, spend their mental energy building cyberspace infrastructure while our aging physical infrastructure languishes. Yet, as this new world develops, legacy institutions lose clout thanks primarily to transparently inauthentic attempts to remain relevant. And in the West, the trust and authority crisis challenges shared faith in democracy.

Despite these alarming trends, this Substack is not the anti-technology ramblings of a would-be Luddite. On the contrary, this is written by someone who overwhelmingly believes in technology to improve the lives of everyone. We need to understand its implications better to avoid its dangers. In my humble opinion, the best way to do this is to keep at least one foot on the ground in the real world.

As an architect by profession, I deal first-hand with the realities and constraints of the physical world on an ongoing basis. For example, everyone still needs a roof over their head at the end of the day. And for society to function, we must ensure that our roads and rail lines are maintained, power is reliably supplied to our homes and workplaces, and fresh food is delivered to our local grocery stores.

In other words, we cannot take for granted the technological innovations of the 20th-century modern era that allow us to live comfortably in the 21st Century postmodern era.

Built in the Cloud explores the rising tension between the brave new digital world and the aging physical world. I’m most interested in how this tension informs architecture and urban development trends, not just in terms of “smart” technologies, artificial intelligence or virtual/augmented realities but also socially and culturally.

About the Author

Adam Mayer is an architect based in Silicon Valley, California.

A noted authority on architecture, planning and urban development, Adam has written articles for Alta Journal, NewGeography, CLOG and Dwell Asia Magazine and quoted in Monocle, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The South China Morning Post, The San Francisco Chronicle and Bloomberg CityLab.

He lives in Silicon Valley, where he is the Founder and Principal of the boutique architecture and interior design practice, Studio-AMA.

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Thoughts on design, urbanism and culture in an increasingly digital world. A Studio-AMA project.


Adam Mayer is an architect based in California. He currently lives in Silicon Valley where he is the Founder and Principal of the boutique architecture and interior design practice, Studio-AMA.