Location: Sejong City, South Korea
GFA: 250,000 sqm
Local Institute in Collaboration: Shinhan Architects & Engineers
As the largest internet enterprise in Korea, Naver has an increasing demand of cloud services. The new generation of data center is located in a unique mountainous site in Sejong city. We are inspired by the World Heritage Site of Korea, the Hahoe folk village, which was built within the embracement of mountains. The scheme takes the metaphor of the village, and develops into a "learning community" protected by the data. Cooperating with consultants, we take on the technical challenges of data center creatively to achieve an integrated solution that is efficient and sustainable.
One of the challenges of the project is to overcome a drastic topography of a height difference of over 50 m. We proposed a scheme titled “Cloud Ring”. It is made up by two parts: the outer ring and the inner ring. The outer ring is hovering above the valley like a cloud. It houses the server rooms and their mechanical space. The inner ring is formed like a village by a cluster of amenity buildings cascading down the valley- a control center, a conference center, a learning center and exhibition space. By lifting up the outer ring, the layout of server rooms become straightforward and efficient, as it avoid the disadvantage of the topography. By breaking down the scale of the masses of inner ring, they easily adapt to the topography and minimize the groundwork of the project.
The material choices also enhance the duality. A delicate multi-layer curtain wall is applied to the outer ring. An elegantly patterned screen, with perforations of the geometry of the overall footprint of the project, makes a powerful statement of the enterprise. It also works as a purification mechanism. The air gets purified and cooled down when it flows through the integrated water curtain system before entering the server room. On the other hand, tinted concrete is used on the “village” of the inner ring. The humble and solid material makes them blend in the landscape perfectly, like rocks growing from the earth, paying tribute to the rustic quality of traditional Korean residence. The stepping plazas between them become the setting for public events.
The planning framework of the ring is divided into three curvy parts to meet the requirement of construction phasing. In the joint areas of two curvy spaces a series of vertical biological gardens, office, maintenance space and storage are placed in supporting the server rooms. Because its high efficiency of vertical and horizontal circulation, it is perfectly suitable for operation of many kinds of robotic equipment.