The project takes place in a former 1200 square meter anti-atomic shelter. An amazing location 30 meters down under the granite rocks of the Vita Berg Park in Stockholm. The client is an internet provider and the rock shelter hosts server halls and offices. The starting point of the project was to consider the rock as a living organism. The humans try to acclimate themselves to this foreign world and bring the ‘best’ elements from earth: light, plants, water and technology. We created strong contrasts between rooms where the rock dominates and where the human being is a stranger against rooms where the human being took over totally.
The choice of lightning has been very challenging. We tried to bring as much variation as possible. Otherwise it is very easy to loose the feeling of time in an enclosed space.Our references come straight from science fiction films, mostly ‘Silent Running’ and a bunch of Bond films with Ken Adams set design.One can describe the process in five different phases:
-destruction of the former office and blowing up the rock to create extra space.
-reinforce the cave. concrete work.
-technical installations. electrical.
-glass and steel work. paint and furnishing.The client had a strong vision from the first brief and the result is only possible because of their persistence, the absence of compromise and great communication/ understanding between all parts under the process.It has been very exciting to work with a space which at first didn’t offer one square angle: the rock. The main room is not a traditional space limited by surfaces but defined by the emptiness inside a mass.
Collaborators: Frida Öster and Jonatan Blomgren
Geology Consultant: Geosigma AB
Construction: Albert France-Lanord Architects
Client: Bahnhof AB
Construction Area: 1,200 sqm
Photos: Åke E:son Lindman
Facts about the data center:
* Originally a nuclear bunker: The data center is housed in what was originally a military bunker and nuclear shelter during the Cold War era. The facility still has the code name from its military days: Pionen White Mountains.
* Located in central Stockholm below 30 meters (almost 100 ft) of bedrock: The facility has 1110 sqm (11950 sq ft) of space and is located below 30 meters of solid bedrock (granite) right inside the city.
* Fully redesigned in 2007-2008: Pionen was completely redesigned in 2007-2008 to become the data center that it is today. More than 4,000 cubic meters (141,300 cubic ft) of solid rock was blasted away to make more room.
* Can withstand a hydrogen bomb: The bunker was designed to be able to withstand a near hit by a hydrogen bomb.
* Houses the Network Operations Center for one of Sweden’s largest ISPs: The bunker houses the NOC for all of Bahnhof’s operations. They have five data centers in Sweden, Pionen being the largest. The facility also acts as a co-location hosting center, so you can actually put your own servers here.
* German submarine engines for backup power: Backup power is handled by two Maybach MTU diesel engines producing 1.5 Megawatt of power. The engines were originally designed for submarines, and just for fun the people at Pionen have also installed the warning system (sound horns) from the original German submarine.
* 1.5 megawatt of cooling for the servers: Cooling is handled by Baltimore Aircoil fans producing a cooling effect of 1.5 megawatt, enough for several hundred rack-mounted units.
* Triple redundancy Internet backbone access: The network has full redundancy with both fiber optics and extra copper lines with three different physical ways into the mountain. Pionen is one the best-connected places in northern Europe.
* Work environment with simulated daylight and greenhouses: For a pleasant working environment the data center has simulated daylight, greenhouses, waterfalls and a huge 2600-liter salt water fish tank.
* Staff: 15 employees, only senior technical staff, work full time in Pionen.
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