The first data centre I decided to visit is alongside Millwall Outer Dock in a building called City Reach on a private estate called Greenwich View Place (click on map to open in Google maps).
According to my online research there are three companies – CenturyLink LO4, Tutis Point & Telstra International – running data centres from this building.
Designed by Richard Seifert & Partners (1988-89) this office block, that consists of two tall tinted office slabs linked by glazed atrium, is described in Pevsner as “desperately overweening”. Along with self important, the building now looks incredibly dated.
NO PHOTOS! I was expecting it to take longer but 30 seconds after taking my camera out a security guard (who came out of the hut just in shot on the left of the photo below, which was safely taken from a public highway) told me that taking photos of the building was forbidden.
It seems that placing your data centre on a private estate provides another level of physical and visual security.
Undeterred I decided to retreat and circle round the building to see if I could gain access from the rear.
I circled around, passing what I initially believed was another data centre, but turned out to be West Ferry Printers (images below). Designed as the Daily Telegraph printers, and went on to print the Express and FT. I later found out that Grimshaw’s FT building has been converted into a data centre, and perhaps in time this building will be too.
The dockside path got me back to City Reach and up close I was able to confirm that at least some element of this building is being used as a data centre.
City reach has many of the traits that I had come to associate with data centres from my internet research. The building has high levels of security, as I had already found out,was heavily services with numerous vents (visible in google maps as well), had reflective glass and a large loading bay. The combined affect was of an uninspiring office building that had a distinct buzzing sound.
Dreary as it was the dirty reflective glass allowed me to take my first, what I think will become of many, data centre selfie.
Below are the rest of the images of the building. Enjoy!