Arch Daily: Plans Unveiled to Construct the World’s Largest and Most Secure Data Center in Northern Norway

by AD Editorial Team

Plans have been revealed by American-Norwegian data company Kolos to construct the world’s largest data center, a claim based on the amount of electrical power the site intends to draw from the grid to supply its banks of servers and cooling facilities. Located on a fjord in Ballangen, Norway, the proposed site sits within the Arctic Circle and would take advantage of the cold climate, low humidity, and the abundant supply of hydropower currently available in the area.

As reported by the BBC, the base would initially “draw on about 70 megawatts of power.” Within a decade, however, “the firm intends to have added enough computer server modules to draw on more than 1,000 megawatts.” Speaking about the planned location for the center, Kolos’ co-chief executive Mark Robinson said: “100% of the power is renewable on one of the most stable grids in the world. […] It has unlimited access to fresh, clean cool water as a secondary chilling source.” According to CNBC, those behind the center intend it to also be a “fortress for data.”

The 600,000 sqm facility, designed by HDR, takes design cues from “the spectacular landforms of alluvial fans, mountains, and glaciers that define the site.” According to the architects the building forms, which are organized along a central spine, are “arranged to mimic a glacier’s movement as it displaces swaths of land.”

“At the base, the spine creates a collision of landforms reinterpreted to become modules, or data halls, that are secure, scalable, and connected. At the terminus on the water, the spine emerges as a public element clad in copper, a reference to the area’s copper mining history.”

While the project has the support of a group of local authorities and Norwegian investors, the company is reportedly awaiting further investment from the US. The buildings are slated for completion in 2018.