Latest generation datacentre at Pantin

RB-Architects inaugurate the latest datacentre at Pantin

Project details

 Type of project    Datacentre
  Location   Ave du Général Leclerc, Pantin (93)
 Area  11 400m²
 Designed  2010-2011
 Built (phase 1)    2011-2013
 Built (phase 2)  2014-2015
 Team  Alex Reid, Adrian Brewin, Daniela Miccolis
View of the datacentre’s entrance hall area
The site is located in Pantin, close to the railway lines of Paris Gare de l’Est, on the eastern side of the city. This new generation datacentre has an area of 11,400 m² of highly secure computer rooms and is equipped with the latest technology. Between 2010 and 2012, Reid Brewin Architects was first appointed by Sodearif to take charge of the exterior design concept and then later commissioned directly by the client to do the interior fit-out, working in accordance with their corporate brand image.

From an old postal sorting office to a latest generation datacentre

The building was a former postal sorting and distribution centre, dating from the 70’s, and required a complete restructuring to transform it into a next generation datacentre. This included extensive work on the building structure, renovation of the building bring it into compliance with new standards and regulations as well as improving the ventilation systems. The project had a particular peculiarity as the site straddled two independently run districts, Pantin and Bobigny. Therefore it had to comply with the planning regulations of both local authorities, which were not exactly the same. In a case such as this, the intervention of the architect becomes all the more essential in order to fully manage and coordinate the complexity of doubling up the applications and documents required for each local authority. Separate building permit applications had to be put together for both districts, in accordance with their respective local urban planning requirements.

Architectural concept that looks to the original form of the building

Facade horizontal detailling
The key objective in our architectural approach at the initial concept design phase of the project was to emphasise and celebrate the building within its environment whilst maintaining the original simplicity of the bare concrete structure of the building. Our design team were inspired by the linear rectangular shape of the building and therefore developed an architectural concept based on a horizontal alignment of louvres and glazing. In terms of the colour palette, we opted to use different shades of grey enhanced with the odd touch of colour, in order to maintain the industrial spirit of the building and remain in keeping with local vision of the renewal and redevelopment of the urban area.

A high tech and high security building

Les éléments techniques sur le toit
Our missionas the architect is both aesthetic and technical. The challenge in this particular project was in optimising the architectural design and building structure whilst making the most of interior space for the latest technology, the technical areas and the data rooms. Numerous technical elements are installed on the roof, whereas most of the high technology equipment was better integrated within the building. With a highly technical building such as this, the security systems that are incorporated must also be the latest technology and the highest quality. Modifications to the basic project were included in order for the building to adhere to these particular features and requirements and we were responsible for submitting the required Building Permit amendment (PCM).

Environmental responsibility at the heart of the architectural project

The proposed solutions for the cooling systems are an essential part of the architectural expertise and advice we can offer as a result of our experience on various datacentre projects. The specification of the cooling system for this datacentre at Pantin was developed by looking in detail at the principle of free cooling (the use of cool outdoor air as a free cooling source for chilling the water in the cooling system). The project was designed to encourage natural air circulation and the ventilation of the building was optimised by using louvres and grills. As part of our integrated sustainable design approach and our environmental responsibility as architects in today’s world, the design choices for reducing the energy consumption are in keeping with this philosophy. It is essential to find ‘green’ solutions that are both ecological and economical and this is always one of our key objectives in all our datacentre projects.
Pantin Datacentre at night

A renewed stimulus of redevelopment in the local area

With the launch of this data center project in Pantin, a renewed enthusiasm was created both within our architect’s practice but especially with the building owner, who decided in the end to completely renovate the whole building. Unveiling a much more modern and attractive aesthetic to the building sparked the emergence of many new rehabilitation projects in the surrounding area. This data center project has helped to accelerate the modernisation of several other buildings nearby bringing an impetus of activity and dynamism to Pantin, initiating a real socio-economic renewal of the neighbourhood.