Commonwealth of Massachusetts Springfield Data Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Springfield Data Center
Springfield, Massachusetts
Square Feet: 145,000
Completed: 2013

Project Description
Located in a National Historic District, the Springfield Data Center adaptively reuses an abandoned Technical High School site to provide critical backup for the Commonwealth’s data storage. The 142,000 sq ft, three-storey building includes 15% office and people-related space, 60% mechanical space, and 25% computer white space. A crumbling main façade was preserved to maintain the neighbourhood’s historic character, while serving as a sustainable feature. Seeking LEED Gold Certification, the Data Center achieves a Power Utilization Efficiency of 1.219, which sets a new threshold for this climate.

Design Concept
Unlike most data centres' monolithic exteriors and exposed rooftop mechanicals, Springfield’s blends into the urban environment with large, evening-illuminated windows and hidden mechanical equipment. Historic reference in fencing and landscape lends discretion to the security function within the surrounding neighbourhood. Springfield Data Center’s sleek, sustainable design – yielding an energy cost savings of 21% and 30+% water reduction – is a long departure from the typical utilitarian, energy-wasting warehouse template.

Evolution of Building Type
This project melds a data centre with a multi-purpose conference and emergency crisis centre; further serving a public purpose by consciously restoring a historically significant façade. In addition to restored brick, the primary façade materials are replicated historic windows, glass curtain wall, louvers and terracotta panels, gesturing to a dialogue between neoclassical historic elegance and the high tech modularized elements of modern materials and architectural assemblies.

The building accommodates five levels of security while creating the perception of an open, day-lighted public space. A sky-lighted atrium forms an interstitial separation between offices, secure mechanical rooms, and second-story computer rooms, and houses vertical circulation, corridors, and break-out spaces. An elliptical elevator core floats in the atrium, connected to corridors by a bridge. A crisp interior color palette reflects the clarity of the technologies embodied in the Center’s new function.

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