prof. raveevarn choksombatchai // M.Arch thesis studio // spring 2012
From a small town in northern Sweden a ski trail navigates jagged contours of logging fields. As it emerges in a vast but narrow clearing, wild daisies populate patches of melted snow. A kilometer of building stretches out ahead. Thin curtains of conduit partially shield views of the rows of servers occupying liquid-filled trenches in the level below. One of a long line of sauna huts dotting the primary structure includes an overnight loft, opening above to an elevated landscape of hot pools.
Data Diving is a proposal for a cloud scale data center and destination sauna resort in the wilds of northern Sweden. The demand of major internet companies warrants proprietary facilities built on greenfield sites of up to 500,000 square feet, costing up to $1 billion and channelling flows of 100MW of power -- enough to run about 75,000 homes. Communities in northern sweden, heretofore known for logging, reindeer, and---significantly for data centers---long winters, good fiberoptic connections, and a remarkably stable grid based on hydroelectric power, actively court IT sector development.
Data Diving envisions experiences that become possible as a significant and reliably continuous stream of "waste energy" from the support of global computing is taken as a given, and a new building typology finds a place in the built environment. Combining global flows of data and energy with the rural Swedish environment, land conditions, and sauna culture, and utilizing current innovations in data center design, this project opportunistically engages mechanical systems, using a landscape filled with hydronic tubes as a heat sink and linking saunas and hot pools to the heat exchange cycle.