HDR-designed NEXTDC facilities to bolster data-driven design revolution

Sam Faigen, Project Leader at HDR
Sam Faigen, Project Leader at HDR

HDR has designed two NEXTDC colocation data centres in Melbourne that are set to house Australia’s largest and most comprehensive cloud ecosystem. Constructed by Kapitol Group, M3 Melbourne, a 100,000m² data centre in West Footscray, and M2 Melbourne, a 16,000m² data centre in Tullamarine, will collectively deliver 210 megawatts of critical IT infrastructure to enterprise and government customers in a climate of unprecedented digital innovation.

What is the structural make-up of the data centres?

With Stage 1 of the 150MW masterplan complete, M3 operates as a colocation facility for retail, enterprise and hyperscale clients, fitted out with HDR-designed administrative offices, collaboration spaces and highly adaptable data halls. Strategically located close to major electricity substations, the campus is situated 10 km from Melbourne’s CBD and resides at the junction between large industrial developments and low-scale residential dwellings.

Commenting on the new data centres, Sam Faigen, Project Leader at HDR, commented, “Designing high-performance, resilient and scalable infrastructure at speed is no easy feat. Utilising a data-driven design methodology, we have succeeded in delivering two purpose-built facilities, using modular and adaptable solutions, that will accelerate industry growth.”

“Knitted into West Footscray’s semi-residential urban fabric, the building form has been set 20m back into the site to respect the neighbours. This zone features densely plated swales, trees and ‘pocket parks’, and a café along the tree-lined perimeter, that transitions the site context from residential to industrial and puts community well-being first,” Faigen said.

The rectilinear machine space of the data halls has been wrapped in a faceted façade ribbon that houses office, lobby and breakout spaces. In contrast, flora ascends the building on engineered trellises, inhabiting the parapets and cascading down the bespoke concrete facade to create a juxtaposition of materiality and form. In 2022, HDR ranked No.1 for “Top 30 Data Centre Architecture + AE Firms in the Building Design + Construction’s Giants 400 report.

Engineered to Uptime Institute’s Tier IV resilient standards by Arup, M3 has achieved an excellent Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) and an industry-leading target power usage efficiency (PUE) of 1.29. Planning consultants, Urbis and project managers, Newbridge also played an integral role across the design and construction process.

HDR designed sister facility M2; a 60MW purpose-built campus and high-grade contemporary workspace strategically near Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport and its surrounding transport and telecom network. Fitted out with HDR-designed commercial office space, meeting rooms, training spaces, an auditorium and customer amenity, the future-proof campus has been designed to transform and scale into a network of interconnected data halls on demand.

What do the facilities mean for HDR and NEXTDC?

“Standing proud as a landmark in its site context, the building’s dynamic form and striking red filigree façade of articulating blades juxtaposes the aluminum structure. Not only do these blades respond to the high level of solar exposure and optimise sun shading, but they create a dappled effect on what would otherwise be a rather monolithic structure,” Faigen said.

Generated through emerging data-driven design tech, HDR has utilised computational and generative design to rapidly evaluate manipulated parameters in real-time and test specific programmatic needs of the project. Engineered by Aurecon, M2 achieved Uptime Institute’s Tier IV Gold Certification for Operational Sustainability and a target PUE of 1.29. The project team also included planning consultants, Urbis and project managers, The APP Group.

Craig Scroggie, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at NEXTDC
Craig Scroggie, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at NEXTDC

“The Australian digital economy is growing rapidly, accelerating the need for interconnected cloud services, sovereign secured, and sustainable solutions enabled by Tier IV certified facilities to assure business resilience. NEXTDC is responding to market demand by expanding our digital infrastructure platform,” said Craig Scroggie, NEXTDC CEO and Managing Director.

“With the ever-increasing digitisation of work, life and play, data centres are becoming fundamental infrastructure in our built environment. By thoughtfully integrating deeply technical, data-driven processes, while still maintaining focus on community well-being, we have conceived two resilient, sustainable and high-performance campuses that enable digital transformation,” said Graeme Spencer, HDR’s National Director of Education and Science.