Paris-based studio Silvio d’Ascia Architecture has completed a new data processing centre for the Bank of Shanghai, its second such complex in the city.
The new project, conceived in partnership with AREP and Shanghai-based ECADI, is located in the Zhangjiang Innovation Park, situated about 21km from Pudong. Imagined as a sort of ‘digital fortress’, the complex includes roughly 12,500m² of data server rooms, with these spaces forming the foundation upon which rest other programmatic zones, such as offices, customer service centres, restaurants, and conference centres.
Explains d’Ascia: “There is this new reality of a data centre. We talk a lot about ‘What is the cloud? What is a data centre?’ Our society is presented with this new idea of a data centre and we are still exploring what such a centre could really mean as a building type. For that reason, we are interested in working on more projects that deal with this new emerging typology. For the moment a lot of these kinds of buildings are done without the architects’ help and we would like to change this current way of thinking. The idea was to give a certain solidity to the image of the bank; we wanted the centre to reflect the strength of the financial institution housed within its walls.”
The project’s conclusion comes on the heels of the studio’s recent data processing centre for the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Both projects came about as the result of winning competition bids and continue the studio’s foray into highly-technical buildings for the digital age. “I truly believe this sort of building, the data centre, is the future. Every company will need one,” notes d’Ascia.
The project centres on the theme of a ‘high-tech fortress’, giving the Bank of Shanghai an image of strength and stability. Such a strength is reinforced through the use of a uniform foundation for the complex, which also happen to house the data centre facilities. The remainder of the building program elements are located on, around, or beside this foundation.
To amplify the notion of a uniform foundation, the complex makes use of local Shanghai granite as a facade treatment. This vernacular stone, with its calm grey tint, is impressively set off against the glass and aluminium brise-soleil system that envelops the central office tower.
Photography: Yves Chan You