Data centres represent a very utilitarian aspect of the built environment, and yet they compose a particular kind of infrastructure within contemporary society, one where form must follow function.
Project Name: NEXTDC Data Centre
Studio Name: Hames Sharley
Location: Perth, Australia
Photography: Douglas Mark Black
Project size: 31000 m2
Completion date: 2020
Hames Sharley was selected as a partner, supporting NEXTDC in the successful delivery of Perth’s first Tier IV data centre (P2), just one of the new developments for the data centre operator across the country.
NEXTDC is Australia’s most trusted and highly interconnected platform of premium colocation data centres. Housing the country’s largest and most comprehensive ecosystem of >640 clouds, networks and specialist IT services providers.
Based in the Perth CBD, P2 forms an important digital interconnectivity hub, offering appropriate supporting infrastructure to deliver critical connectivity, front of house facilities, world-class security, a delivery area, storage and staging rooms and client parking and access. The newly built facility consists of over 10,000m² of technical space and 10 high density compute data halls.
Built to meet the increasing needs of today’s digital economy, the key moves and design principles consisted of:
• Integration with the existing site conditions and infrastructure
• Breakout spaces to the street for additional façade activation and improvement of the user experience
• Effectively connecting the street with the main building level being at the 1/100 year flood level (2.5m level difference)
• Concealment of services running externally
• Fast architecture – repeating fins to the street that creates a dynamic façade when moving past the building in a vehicle
• A lighting design to change the look of the building at night – proving 24-hour architecture for the Perth community.
Hames Sharley worked closely with Urbis and City of Perth (CoP) to deliver an outcome that worked for the local council and the client – balancing the security requirements with the City’s desire for an open and transparent public interface. As the architect and interior designer for P2 Perth, Hames Sharley also worked closely with subcontractors to deliver organised and considered services layout and routes, where possible.
The project provided several challenging scenarios, the greatest involving the need to deliver a non-public building with a public interface that also connected the street level. Strong, bold architectural accents of red connect to emphasise 3D spatial geometries in NEXTDC, while spatial layering throughout controls lighting and sight-lines. Think refined industrial, exposed services and metallic finishes, which make up the overall design aesthetic.
Hames Sharley added further value by investigating and implementing, (within budget), the inclusion of breakout spaces to the street for additional façade activation and improved user experience.
The newly built facility is the pinnacle of data centre certifications worldwide. Tier IV infrastructure is a building block on top of the requirements for Tier III, adding complete fault tolerance to the infrastructure deployed on-site. Completely fault-tolerant infrastructure means that any individual equipment failures or distribution path interruptions that occur will have no impact on the overall operations of the facility.
The delivery method was Design and Construct, and Hames Sharley engaged early with the Head Contractor and sub-contractors on crucial design elements to ensure these critical elements were not overlooked, and the client achieved their optimal outcome.
With over 12,000m2 of technical data centre space at full fitout, P2 supports the highest-density, compute-intensive requirements for Perth organisations, and can scale from rack-ready cabinets to full contiguous rows and custom cages and private suites.
NEXTDC currently operates nine data centres nationwide, with facilities in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra.