Global Switch London North (Grimshaw’s FT building)

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 13.30.30Perhaps London’s most aesthetically pleasing data centre is located within Nicholas Grimshaw’s RIBA Award winning Financial Times Printworks.

Built in 1988 the building was converted into a data centre in the late 1990s and is now know as Global Switch London North.

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The building is one of a group of data centres that make up a concentrated district of data centres at East India Key. Next-door (right in the image above) is data giant Global Switch’s other London facility, which the company claims is the largest in Europe.

In the image below Grimshaw’s FT building is in the foreground, followed by Global Switch London East, TeleHouse East, a travelodge (?) TeleHouse North and finally TeleHouse North 2, which is under construction.

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Aesthetically the most notable change from printworks to data centre is the addition of extremely dark mirrored glass. The building was designed explicitly so that people could see into it through a long glazed screen and view the printing process that was happening inside.

While before the retrofit the building showed off the physical process that was occurring inside, now the building hides the machinery needed to process the data we need for our everyday existence.

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Like the majority of data centres this building has high levels of security, with an ornamental lake providing a level of protection, as well as barbed wire fences and of course numerous cameras.

Lake:

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Wire:

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Cameras:

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Gate:

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Is the data in the foreground powering the buildings in the background?

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