The Data Center
Group (TDCG) focuses on the development and exploitation of affordable,
energy-efficient and technologically leading-edge data centres with 100%
uptime. cepezed designed the ‘next-generation’ location at the Science Park
Technopolis Delft, directly adjacent to the University of Technology and close
to important fibre-optic networks.
The building’s footprint is around 35x42 m and consists of three storeys that together take up more than 4,000 m2. For safety reasons, the construction of the ground floor is entirely in concrete and consists of a limited programme of supporting functions such as an office, a room for permanent security for the building, goods delivery, toilets and a pantry. The transformer rooms, distribution stations, emergency power supplies and energy meters can also be found here.
The top two floors have a steel supporting structure with concrete floors and consist entirely of large open spaces. At right angles to the long sides there are long rows of computer racks that generate a significant cooling requirement. The machinery for this is mounted on a steel rack outside the thermal shell of sandwich panels. This rack also forms the construction for a special second shell of vertically mounted Graepel air-permeable profile gratings, which are generally utilized for walking safely without slipping in a variety of industrial settings. The gratings protect the cooling installations while providing them with sufficient ventilation. In addition, they add an extra dimension to the otherwise monotonous, closed volume.
The mounting angle of the grating ribbing generates an optical progress of open and closed and means that the building looks different from various perspectives; Seen from the front, diagonally, from near and far, its appearance keeps changing, so that it sometimes seems completely closed, while at another position a subtle transparency is formed that allows the steel structure behind and the installations to show through. Around the north-western external staircase, the grating ribbing has another mounting angle so that the stairs are constantly visible from different positions. So the staircase stands out distinctly from the rest of the building volume.
The façade cladding on the plinth of the data centre is profiled steel sheeting, mitred at the corners. In combination with the dark colour, the lower storey forms a clean-lined, abstract pedestal, almost without detailing, for the equally abstract-looking server levels. The utility rooms behind the profiled cladding enjoy daylight and a view thanks to local perforation of the sheeting. In addition, this has been continued around the adjacent site with parking facilities and additional building services, so that no fencing is required.