Bunker

Bunker

Architect
GENS
Location
Peltre, Moselle, France | View Map
Project Year
2020
Category
Offices

Warehouses
Ludmilla Cerveny

Bunker

GENS as Architects

Headline:

The data center is paradigmatic of our time: it embodies the contradiction between frenetic dematerialisation and the physical structures which enable it. It is also a highly secured place.

photo_credit Ludmilla Cerveny
Ludmilla Cerveny

Sunk into the natural slope, the 100m long concrete volume surfaces only as a low, blank wall topped with grass - a military stronghold defending its secrets.

photo_credit Ludmilla Cerveny
Ludmilla Cerveny

General description:

The program is split into two independent volumes:

_ generic office space for lease, underneath the front lawn, whose outline follows the property line;

_ data center and its administrative offices, a perfect rectangle.

Both respect the same altitude: 1,5m above street level: they vanish into the surrounding banality while the view extends over into the countryside behind.

photo_credit Ludmilla Cerveny
Ludmilla Cerveny

A trench between them serves as the common entrance for staff and clients - an outdoor area, invisible from street level, defined and protected by their facades. A lower level behind the data center volume is dedicated to logistical needs.

photo_credit Ludmilla Cerveny
Ludmilla Cerveny

Altogether the volumes share a minimalistic material palette: prefabricated concrete, curtain wall, steel grates, each made to serve their purpose in an straightforward manner: glass for people, concrete for datas and the portcullis between them, the grates.

photo_credit Ludmilla Cerveny
Ludmilla Cerveny

Concept / context strategy:

If discretion is a programmatic need, it is also a pertinent answer to the peripheral context - a sad competition of architectural indigent pretentions. The data center is mute and efficient, nothing more than a military-industrial complex.

photo_credit Ludmilla Cerveny
Ludmilla Cerveny

Yet such radical functionality does not prevent sequenced and vivid experiences throughout daily use: _ the grated-lined tunnel cutting through the volumes,

_ the secret doors which at times hide offices behind or reveal meeting rooms,

_ exposed technical ceilings and white-ish carpet,

_ glamorous glass partitions and vertical blinds (white-ish too),

_ the lift sinking into the dark infrastructural depth,

_ an immaculate corridor leading to the data-racks - holly of hollies.

photo_credit Ludmilla Cerveny
Ludmilla Cerveny

This staging of spaces, somewhat harsh, evokes a naive reading of middle-age castles, a generic sci-fi movie, something a little weird and a little playful.

The building, as an experience, embodies the very nature of its brief: a securitarian and technological machine as much as its own theatrical staging, slightly vintage since architecture does not reach the speed of optic fibre ; modern efficiency and post-modern narrative at once.

photo_credit Ludmilla Cerveny
Ludmilla Cerveny
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