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Nicolas Descamps

Former Member/Visiting Researcher
Nicolas Descamps is an architect and a Ph.D. candidate in Architecture and Planning at L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Strasbourg and at Strasbourg University (France) under the supervision of Dr. Prof. Denis Bocquet. His Ph.D. dissertation, entitled Google, Internet and the City: A Critical History of Google/Alphabet’s Spatial, Architectural and Urban Policies in Silicon Valley, 1998-2020 aims to show how and to what extent Google has become an urban actor in Silicon Valley – especially in Mountain View – and how its monopolistic aspiration impacts urban planning in the Valley. The idea beyond his research is to consider Google as a full-fledged urban stakeholder since the creation of the company and to trace back the evolution of its architectural and urban practice in a broader historical framework. This will lead to questioning how the spatial, architectural, and urban history of Google/Alphabet within Silicon Valley – seen as a formal expression of corporate culture – has led to the creation of Sidewalk Labs and the failure of Quayside Toronto. Nicolas chose to take Google as a case study since he believes that it highlights a more general trend in the transformation of the urban factory, which is the increasingly important role of digital companies within cities. He has been invited to Aalto University School of Art, Design, and Architecture under the supervision of Prof. Pia Fricker to analyze different case studies (such as the Nokia/Microsoft/Tieto campus) as a counterpoint as well as a different approach of the smart city in the Helsinki/Espoo/Vantaa metropolitan area.

Research area

Relationship between the built form and emerging technologies


Architecture, Urban Morphology/Morphogenesis, Project, University of Strasbourg- Strasbourg School of Architecture