Digital Beijing: The Olympic Data Center


Digital Beijing, the data center for the 2008 Olympics, is one of the most interesting pieces of data center architecture you’re ever likely to see. The enormous building spans 1.05 million square feet (98,000 square meters) and has been designed to resemble a huge integrated circuit board when viewed from the side, and a bar code when viewed from either end. The design was the result of an international competition won by Chinese architects Studio Pei-zhu. Plans call for the building to be lit in a spectacular fashion during the Games in August (see the image above, an artist’s rendition from Studio Pei-zhu), and seems likely to become a familiar image during TV coverage of the Games, which begin on August 8.

The building is 11 stories high, towering 187 feet above Olympic Park. Here’s an actual picture of the building’s exterior:


Digital Beijing will provide communication, information security and IT services during the Olympic Games, and then be used by the Beijing municipal government’s data storage and emergency-response command.

The facility has a rainwater collection system and uses LED lighting that can reduce energy use for lighting by 60 percent. Here’s more on the concept for the facility’s design, from the architect:

The concept for Digital Beijing was developed through reconsideration and reflection on the role of contemporary architecture in the information era. Resembling that omnipresent symbol, the bar code, the building emerges from a serene water surface. The fa

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.