Data centres: architects and the early stages
We’re often asked at what stage the architect begins working on a data centre project. We spoke to Hyphen architects, Ricardo Pariente and Matías Menichetti to find out more…
“We found that clients come to us when they’re considering moving into a new region”, Ricardo, our Director in Madrid, says. “We are seeing more and more requests now for being involved in, say, due diligence, together with a wider team of experts and this has not been the case until recently.
“There is also the local knowledge we have. This is not only in the local code but also in the construction culture or even the culture of the administration of that respective place. Sometimes it’s necessary to explain things to the authorities, to understand the local process of getting permits. This is key for data centres, so you can assess the viability of a project.
“And that’s why I think more and more clients and operators are requesting us. The Southern Europe and Latin American regions are booming and our clients are coming from outside – Northern Europe, the UK or the US. They need a good local partner to support them.”
“There are instances where we have provided site appraisals for a specific client, Matías, our Office Head in Santiago de Chile, adds, “who may be looking at ten, maybe even 15 sites. From this, we may find three sites that are suitable. So we are involved in the key strategic decisions of where to deploy these sites in a country, city or a specific region.
“The collaborative aspects of working on data centres is very rewarding, working with people from several disciplines and coordinating all the processes to deliver the data centre project. As architects we are involved with all of those disciplines. It’s a very holistic role.”
“The role of the architect is becoming more and more critical in the early stages”, Matías explains. “Most of the big decisions are made in the site selection stage and those decisions are aligned to the development of the complete project. And it’s a critical stage for architectural considerations – things like code compliance.
“The industry is often perceived as dangerous, which is not the case. What they sometimes need is an expert to guide them through the process in the early stages and that is where the architect comes in.
“I think architects can contribute with a holistic approach to the project. These projects rely on professionals from multiple disciplines, and other specialists may not have this overview of what the building is. Architects have that, which is why it is important to involve us as soon as possible.”