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CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
Established in 1952, the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire – known by the acronym CERN – is a radiant example of post-war cooperation and optimism. Now, as the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, its Franco-Swiss site accommodates 15,000 scientists from over 120 nations; positioned at the forefront of human enquiry. In an ocean of global research dominated by corporate-interest, CERN remains a beacon of publicly-funded ‘open science’. However, at present the organisation faces a challenge at its foundations. Responding to rapid changes in technology over the last 60 years, construction of the CERN campus developed incrementally and in an ad hoc fashion. The result is a fractured assembly of sheds, storage halls, and experimental infrastructure; many of which lie discarded and obsolete. Today, fundamental shifts in the practice of scientific research necessitate a new model of laboratory environment; one which must facilitate increasingly collaborative methods. Meanwhile, as the scale of commissions increases parallel to the speed of technological advance, there is clearly a growing need for intervention to deal with obsolescence. This thesis investigates a resilient strategy for this pioneering European project; proposing the transformation of a decommissioned particle accelerator to create a Commons for CERN. In doing so, the scheme attempts to demonstrate the potential of post-experimental re-use while cultivating dynamic collaborative research.