Pionen – White mountain / Albert France-Lanord Architects

Architects: Albert France-Lanord Architects
Program: Datacenter
Collaborators: Frida Öster and Jonatan Blomgren
Geology Consultant: Geosigma AB
Construction: Albert France-Lanord Architects
Client: Bahnhof AB
Construction Area: 1,200 sqm
Project year: 2008
Photographs: Åke E:son Lindman

The project takes place in a former 1200 square meter anti-atomic shelter. An amazing location 30 meters down under the granite rocks of the Vita Berg Park in Stockholm. The client is an internet provider and the rock shelter hosts server halls and offices. The starting point of the project was to consider the rock as a living organism. The humans try to acclimate themselves to this foreign world and bring the ‘best’ elements from earth: light, plants, water and technology. We created strong contrasts between rooms where the rock dominates and where the human being is a stranger against rooms where the human being took over totally.

The choice of lightning has been very challenging. We tried to bring as much variation as possible. Otherwise it is very easy to loose the feeling of time in an enclosed space.

Our references come straight from science fiction films, mostly ‘Silent Running’ and a bunch of Bond films with Ken Adams set design.

One can describe the process in five different phases:

-destruction of the former office and blowing up the rock to create extra space.
-reinforce the cave. concrete work.
-technical installations. electrical.
- and steel work. paint and furnishing.

The client had a strong vision from the first brief and the result is only possible because of their persistence, the absence of compromise and great communication/ understanding between all parts under the process.

It has been very exciting to work with a space which at first didn’t offer one square angle: the rock. The main room is not a traditional space limited by surfaces but defined by the emptiness inside a mass.

Cite: "Pionen – White mountain / Albert France-Lanord Architects" 24 Nov 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=9257>


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    This is pretty awesome. Even more awesome (for me) is that I get to be the first person here to say: “Welcome to my underground lair.”

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    What function do the two large engines serve? Do they power the cooing system for the servers… or just the A/C?

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The engines power electric generators in case of electric outages — standard high-end data center fare.

    Also interesting to notice that much of the Stockholm underground runs inside similar caves blasted out of the solid granite.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down -2

    As cool as this place is, I’m not sure how nice it would be to actually live there. It’s essentially a massive, all-consuming conversation piece. At a certain point, good homes recede to the background. I want to be able to bask in the beauty of my house when I feel like it, but also peacefully ignore its presence when I want to. Living in a house like that, one will always have the feeling of being an actor on a movie set. It’s cool for cocktail parties, for sure. But eventually I think one tires of the cinematic intensity here.


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      The living room is the most polpuar areas of a home because the place in which to entertain guests, family gather to spend time or casually watching television together and a chat with the family. Therefore, the living room should be designed with a comfortable interior as it is very important in this area decorated with a friendly atmosphere to ensure the visitors coming.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    me recuerda demasiado el refugio de Lex Luthor en las montañas, en una de las clásicas Superman pero no recuerdo exactamente cual de todas.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Cool, though not the first data center in a used nuclear bunker. (www.thebunker.net has been doing that for a decade.) Places like that can obviously provide good physical security, and usually have good redundant power grid connections, and may have good resources for cooling if there’s not too much equipment for the amount of floor space.

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    Definition of irony: Wikileaks apparently knows almost everything, expect about a little thing called radon. Good luck to those workers in that huge cave full of granite and, therefore, granite… Take good care of your health. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radon

    So this is not a good project, at all. Would a project full of asbestos be a good project nowadays knowing its risks?

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