Designing an industry-leading green data centre

The challenge

When commissioned for this new data centre on West Cambridge Campus, we were aware of the high bar set by the site’s notable architecture neighbours - including the Schlumberger Institute. Our challenge was to create a building that would fit within the aspirations of the campus master plan.

Importantly, with estimations that carbon emissions from data centres will quadruple by 2020, our ambition was to keep energy efficiency at the heart of the process.

The approach

With these challenges in mind, our experienced team developed an energyefficient design that would stand out in its own right.

To ensure maximum efficiency, we included a hybrid water cooling system that enables an impressive Power Usage Effectiveness of 1.25 at full operational capacity. The centre’s landscaping is enhanced by natural meadow planting and a ‘green’ boundary fence with ivy panels. Any surface water is dealt with by a swale, which removes water and deposits
it in a nearby lake.

The distinctive aesthetic of the building uses black metal cladding with a living wall around the building entrance. All plant enclosures are uniquely coloured, articulating the development and responding distinctly to its architectural context.

The result

The new data centre has enabled processing roos to be brought together into one industry-leading, energy-efficient, aesthetic, secure and fully managed facility.




Project Size:

Appointment Duration:

Form of Contract:

Education / Technology

University of Cambridge


January 2011 – current

JCT With Contractor Design