Data is proliferating: annual global IP traffic will pass the zettabyte threshold by the end of 2016, and will reach 2 zettabytes per year by 2019. Considering this, the problem in the next future will be to find a place to store these data. Today data centers have a large carbon footprint: servers absorb a lot of electrical power and they need to be constantly cooled down.
Our project is a vision of a future green data center located in Iceland. Iceland is considered a strategic location for data centers because of its location between Europe and the US, for its abundance of renewable energy sources, and for the cold climate that helps to cool down the servers.
The main issue of our project is to investigate a new morphological solution for a data center, which is, today, only a large industrial building without a significant architectural connotation, a big anonymous container. In addition, we conceive its configuration in order to optimize the use of the available renewable energies and also to allow the re-use in a sustainable way.
The tower is conceived as a giant 3D motherboard with a cylindrical shape. On the external façade are fastened all the hardware components, while the internal part is empty. This void is a technical space with a double function: first, it is the main air duct of the cooling system, and second it is a space where the pods can be moved to the ground floor, during the maintenance and the upgrade phases.
As well as in a computer case, a huge cooling fan on the top of the tower activates a natural chimney effect, thanks to which each pod takes the natural fresh air from outside and releases the warm air inside. A part of this air is expelled from the top of the tower, another part is re-used to heat the laboratories and the greenhouses situated in the basement. During the winter the warm air released by the server could be also used to heat the houses in the surrounding neighborhood.
The modern data center is a particular building in continuous evolution: as well as in a motherboard, where the components are always replaced and updated, also the façade of the tower is versatile and adaptable: in fact, depending on necessity, the density and the position of the pods can freely change increasing the height of the tower.
“The recipients of the THIRD PLACE are Valeria Mercuri and Marco Merletti from Italy for the project Data Tower. The proposal envisions a sustainable skyscraper in Iceland designed for Internet servers,” says eVolo Magazine announcing the winners of the 2016 Skyscraper Competition. Source and Images Courtesy of Valeria Mercuri and Marco Merletti