Why should architects consider working on data centres?

The latest forecasts by Gartner suggest that spending on data centre infrastructure will grow by more than 7% before the end of the year. This is up 1% from its own predictions for 2021, published late last year. The global research and advisory firm speculate that we will then see a further growth of 5% in 2022.

This represents a fantastic opportunity for architectural firms, including us at Hyphen, as we continue to grow our portfolio of data centre projects. As time goes on, more and more space will be needed to store data, especially when we consider the lofty ambitions of global technology giants.

While the financial incentives may seem obvious, they are not the only reasons an architect should consider working on data centres. We interviewed Victoria Ruiz Del Portal Urraca, Senior Architect at Hyphen, to find out more…


What first attracted you to work in the data centre sector?

I thought it would be a great opportunity to really understand the BIM process on real projects. In these projects coordination is key. You will be using the latest modelling software and have the opportunity to contribute to a life model that will be used for the future maintenance of the building. Six years on and I have been fortunate enough to deliver projects across Europe and South America.


What do you enjoy most about data centre projects?

You work closely with a multidisciplinary team to develop an efficient building. The constant conversation with the engineer, the client and suppliers to develop the best result is very interesting and rewarding.

The projects are also varied – you leave gaining knowledge from other disciplines. Every day is a new challenge and an opportunity to learn new skills.


What are some of the misconceptions of data centre work?

From the point of view of the architectural design, the data centre buildings could be seen as very simple, maybe even just as a tin box. However, when you start working on a data centre campus, you realise that it is much more complex.

Working on data centres is also highly creative, which is not always appreciated by those unfamiliar with this type of project. You need to keep the functionality of the building and at the same time allow enough space for all the equipment required. Maintaining an accessible and clean layout is a creative challenge when so many systems need to fit within the same space.

We need to make sure that there is space for every single item, comply with regulation and keep an efficient scheme. As I said, coordination is key.