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BP Center for High-Performance Computing

Houston, Texas

In this facility BP processes geophysical data and seismic images that enable its scientists to explore what lies beneath the Earth’s surface. Located on BP’s campus in the Houston Energy Corridor, the Center for High-Performance Computing houses one of the world’s largest supercomputers for commercial research.

The fully glazed, undulating north facade captures attention while welcoming visitors with an approachable scale. To develop the exterior, the team abstracted and pixelated images of geophysical strata produced by the computers inside. These images were translated into the ripples of the glass facade and the patterns on the concrete panels.

Servers and mechanical systems are oriented to the south and encased in the opaque, precast concrete shell. The fully glazed office spaces are located to the north.

Optimal solar orientation and high-performance mechanical and electrical systems provide a power usage effectiveness (PUE) well below the typical data center average.

Designed to resist winds of up to 130 mph, the facade is the building’s first line of defense. Inside, reinforced CMU walls define the data center and protect the computers. Computing spaces are equipped with a steeper roof slope, ensuring that water drains away from the equipment. In the case of a water outage, an underground reservoir can assist with cooling the space and equipment.

SIZE
110,000 sq. ft. / 10,220 sq. m.
Awards
Texas Society of Architects – AIA Texas Design Award
AIA Houston Design Award – Architecture
ASHRAE Technology Awards – New Commercial Buildings
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