Comms room in a data center. Design by architects Bryden Wood, specialist DfMA architecture and design practice.

Our innovative approach to data centre design delivers exceptional results for global clients: 30-40% reduction in capital build cost per KW; 40% increase in IT yield/sqm.

Bryden Wood began working in the field of data centre design in 1999, originally for Global Switch and through them for their tenants, Cable and Wireless, Ebone, Cap Gemini and Global Crossing; and later for laxix and LPN. We are currently working on data centre design projects with several leading providers in the global hyperscale data centre market.

Experts in construction technology and DfMA, Bryden Wood has a history of designing specialist prefabricated building elements, particularly where there is a cross-over between mechanical and electrical services, structure and high-quality architectural finishes.

This unique combination of abilities - designers experienced in the rigour of prefabricated, DfMA concepts and knowledgeable in data centre design - was seized upon by Andy Ruhan, CEO of Global Switch. We were commissioned to review all aspects of the way data centres were built, including data centre design, procurement and data centre construction.

The resulting solution utilised a number of prefabricated products and methods of working, which create a kit-of-parts. This Platform construction methodology allows Bryden Wood to produce a scheme for either an existing building or a green field site. The scheme uses production items where the cost and programme for each element are certain and all elements have enhanced resilience due to prefabrication.

This approach is also extremely flexible as all the elements have the ability to be installed in phases. Extensions to the system are built and then connected up with no downtime. This allows expansion needs to be protected without large capital expenditure.

Prefabrication has the added benefit of miniaturising the installation required to service the technical space. This is because you can build in a smaller space on a bench in a factory than in traditional site conditions. This, with a patented pressurised plenum floor system, allows this system to increase the net area by over 10%.

The move to hyperscale data centre construction

The colocation or retail data centre has traditionally been designed almost with a single focus; providing mission critical resilience and security, at all costs. While that focus may still be valid for some sectors of the industry, the emergence of the hyperscale data centre to service the rapidly expanding internet giants has led to the need for a different approach to data centre design and construction.

The hyperscalers and the expansion generated by cloud computing, ecommerce and social media, have created the demand for huge facilities designed to optimise the deployment of their servers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The pressure to reduce $ per MW is a metric actively targeted in the design and development stage of these facilities. As requirements have evolved, so must the data centre design approach.

Bryden Wood apply an integrated design approach to the problem, bringing together the best in engineering, architecture and digital design technologies to optimise outcomes for our clients. We produce a balanced data centre design, which is grounded on solid engineering, but also delivers the best value.

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Proven results building data centres for global clients

We have worked closely with the biggest names in the hyperscale business in the past three years. We have an intimate understanding of what drives their business and how the data centre is fundamental to their rapid expansion.

We have achieved exceptional results building data centres, not least:

  • 30-40% reduction in capital build cost per KW

  • 40% increase in IT yield/sqm

We have done this by efficient design of both the white space and supporting technical equipment. Our focus on close coupling systems reduces distribution costs and avoids wasted space.

We have created masterplans for hundreds of MWs of facilities around the world. We understand the importance of maximising yield from a prospective site. Carefully designed structures, created to be in sync with the white space cooling and power distribution systems they support, enable us to drive down floor-to-floor heights. This maximises the number of storeys the site can deliver, which means maximum MW yield.

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Driving efficiency - reducing time to market with kit-of-parts architecture for data centres

The Bryden Wood principle of Design to Value is particularly effective for the rapid growth of the hyperscale sector; as is our core approach (and market-leading experience) of creating standardised, kit-of-parts designs, and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA).

Kit-of-parts designs lend themselves in particular to digital design and configuration. We have developed configuration software for clients which has transformed front-end masterplanning, costing and design creation. 

A masterplan feasibility which once took several months can now be run in just a few hours, allowing scenario testing to find a best fit with the client’s development aspirations, and cutting time to market dramatically.

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A mould-breaking, more efficient future for data centre architecture

The Bryden Wood approach has led us to deploy standard products and processes in a more efficient way – maximising lean design principles, questioning the efficiency of every aspect of the data centre design and stripping out anything that is not essential. We have broken some moulds in the process.

But working with our fully integrated team of technologists, analysts, engineers and architects means no guesswork or inefficient, unused space. We provide a truly specialist approach to data centre design.

We are currently working on live projects in Ireland, UK, Spain and Italy, with feasibility studies either completed or underway in Helsinki, Frankfurt, Zurich, Warsaw, Bogota, Dubai and Dallas… and many more. We look forward to helping our clients build ever more efficiently: driving down cost, improving performance and increasing yields. As this market will certainly continue to grow, the benefits of accelerated certainty and increased efficiency for data centre construction are clear – for our clients, and for the built environment as a whole.

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