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Building a roof garden atop Paris’ KDDI Data Center Léon Frot

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With over 100 offices worldwide – including more than 40 data centers – when it came to refurbishing its latest outpost, KDDI wanted a development that echoed their environmental commitments, while also integrating into the life of the neighborhood and surrounding urban landscape.

Working in partnership with the Bureau d’Études de Gally – experts in urban biodiversity and agriculture – the Reid Brewin Architects team was appointed to bring to life KDDI France’s vision for a garden on the roof of its new, 1,121 sqm data center.

Located in a popular arrondissement of Paris, the scope of the project focused on the transformation of a former industrial warehouse into KDDI France’s new technical hub – while also fostering biodiversity and green space within the city.

The RBA team remodelled the rooftop of the 1950s building, adapting structural elements to form part of a savvy design which makes optimum use of the space available, thus creating room for 1,596 flowers – including 896 edible plants, and 42 different species.

Construction took place between July 2019 and February 2021 – with a forced break during the pandemic – and the facility utilised materials and techniques which married building performance with energy efficiency. Not only that, but excess calories will be sold to the city and reinjected into Paris’ heating system – and not lost into the air.

Now complete, residents from the surrounding neighbourhoods have access to the gardens and can harvest their own, freshly-grown produce. A local resident – who has lived close-by for many years – has already reported spotting  birds that she hasn’t seen in more than 15 years – a sign that biodiversity is already enhanced with all kinds of insects and birds.

Speaking about the project, Julien Durain, deputy facility director of KDDI France, said: “The teams of the Gally Design Office and the Gally Gardens have created an ambitious hanging garden project which meets our environmental commitment, the needs of our users, and the landscape integration of the site into the district.”

Benoit Chaveron, project manager at The Gally Design Office, added: “Designing a garden on the roof of a data center in the heart of Paris was an exciting challenge! This is the challenge that we took up as a team at the Gally Design Office, with the architects of RBA and Cap Ingelec, to create a place of life, sharing, and culture for the employees of the company but also residents of the neighborhood.”

As the French subsidiary of the Japanese telecommunications leader, KDDI France’s Data Center marks the organisation’s first such construction in Paris – and a ‘significant milestone’ in the Group’s development in Europe and France.

About the project

Once complete, the Data Center will be equipped with the latest technology and highest security standards – comprising of 4,500 sqm of IT space and 5 MW of electrical power. Thanks to its technical features, this site will offer national and international companies’ access to a high-performance IT and telecom hosting service, particularly in terms of cooling.

https://global.kddi.com/