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Science and Industry

Arup works on the development and design of some of the most functionally demanding buildings in the scientific and industrial sector – from laboratories to the data centres that power our world.

Arup works on the development and design of some of the most functionally demanding buildings in the scientific and industrial sector – from laboratories to the data centres that power our world.

Arup works on the development and design of some of the most functionally demanding buildings in the scientific and industrial sector. Our mix of niche technical capability, design and commercial skill equips us to provide flexible, comprehensive services, whether for data centres or science or manufacturing facilities.

Whatever the context, we help clients adapt to their evolving challenges. We can produce lean, resilient assets and operations, or solutions that face up to uncertainties – from climate change to future markets.

Night view of MET office. Credit: Arup Night view of MET office. Credit: Arup

Designing the data centres the world relies on

The worldwide demand for data continues to grow. Arup is shaping the data centres that will power this future, designing highly sustainable facilities that deliver the speed, resilience and security that industry, clients and individuals rely upon.

Arup has been at the forefront of data centre design since the industry began. We work collaboratively with our clients offering full engineering, architectural and consultancy services for the entire lifespan of the data centre, from master planning to operations optimisation. 

We work as partners for many international data centre owners, delivering multiple projects for operators such as Digital Realty and colocation providers like Equinix. This is a power hungry industry, so we work hard to maximise efficiency, optimise ongoing operations and help clients to reduce the carbon footprint of their businesses with specialist designs that represent the best combination of sustainability and high performance.

Discover our global expertise on Data Centres

Total Design

LDS Data Centre.

Equinix London Data Centre 6 added 8,000m2 of prime, co-location data centre ‘white space’ to Equinix’s global portfolio. Designing for resilience, we have ensured that any power interruption/disturbance or single failure of equipment can be tolerated and the data centre will stay operational with no perceived impact to the end customer.

Arup provided engineering designs, together with project and cost management and, for the first time, architectural and LEED Consultancy. We have delivered this $112 million investment that is expected to reduce the CO2 output by 23,000 tonnes annually versus a conventional design. This equates to 11,000 fewer cars on our roads, per year.

Equinix London Data Centre 6

Energy Efficiency

Image of a data centre. Credit: Arup

This new €60m data centre is the first in Digital Realty's Amsterdam campus and adds 6,600m2 of prime ‘white space’ to their portfolio. We have supported this project from its inception and masterplanning through to the successful handover of the first two data halls.

AMS15 is a highly efficient data centre utilising indirect air cooling units to achieve a Power Usage Effectiveness of 1.23. In a first for DLR, AMS15 uses a centralised high voltage backup generator system and a distributed uninterruptible power supply topology to the critical load. Designed by Arup, in close collaboration with DLR, this scheme provides our client with a highly resilient, cost effective electrical infrastructure. This approach is also being deployed across DLR’s expanding European portfolio.

Collaborative working across Europe

Image of a data centre. Credit: iStock.

Arup is providing civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and public health engineering services design for a new build data centre campus in Scandinavia which will ultimately provide over 200MW of capacity across 150,000m2 of data centre buildings. The project uses a direct air free cooling solution and the design of the buildings has been developed to maximise the efficiency of this cooling solution given the local climate. The new data centre will capture waste heat from the first data halls to serve the adjacent office building and the campus will include a connection into the local district heating systems to heat homes in the local area.

Global Partnership

Data Centre image. Credit: iStock

During the past five years, we have supported Equinix in the delivery of over €300 million of investment in new data centres in Europe and continue to work as a key trusted advisor on future projects.

Our projects have ranged from large 24MW UPS, 16,000m2 new build facilities to smaller intricate upgrade, expansion projects in existing live buildings, and acquisition support. The projects typically require clear and effective strategies for fit out over multiple investment phases as well as high resilience and reliable designs. We have accommodated this requirement through clear scope definition at feasibility stage. We have also drawn from our regional and international presence to deliver projects within Europe and assisted with the assimilation of Equinix approach in multiple regions; proactively supporting projects through the whole life cycle.


Data Centre image. Credit: iStock

IBM North Harbour East Building in UK  is a strategic data centre where the high voltage infrastructure was reaching end of life. We provided solutions from feasibility to construction support and commissioning services for the replacement of the existing 11kV switchgear. The solution provided a concurrently maintainable solution eliminating single points of failure that were present in the existing systems.

Arup’s proposed reconfiguration and phasing strategies of the high voltage infrastructure enhanced the resilience of the power supply and ensured transferring of systems across from the existing to new infrastructure without loss of supply to critical equipment in this live operational environment. 

Future Proof Design

Image of a data centre. Credit: Arup

This first standalone data centre for the University of Cambridge in the U.K. houses essential IT services within a central, purpose-built and secure facility. Our approach exceeded the University’s ambitious energy efficiency aspirations by delivering an impressive Power Usage Effectiveness of less than 1.2 and carbon reduction of up to 40% on the existing facilities. A key feature of the data centre is the mechanical chilled water system serving different rack cooling solutions addressing the varying IT demands. The mechanical design also utilises hybrid dry-air coolers to exploit the benefits of evaporative cooling. The early adoption of supplying air at higher temperatures unlocked the potential for a highly efficient and low cost design and by working to standards defined by ASHRAE design criteria, we have also established new industry benchmarks.

West Cambridge Data Centre

Sustainable Design

This data centre in Frankfurt is the world’s first LEED Platinum data centre, a sustainability milestone for this energy hungry type of facility. We took an ambitious approach to the sustainability of this project, from inception through to operation, without compromising operational performance or reliability. The data centre plant systems, unit sizes and operating points are selected to exceed industry standard reliability criteria, while also enhancing operational energy efficiency. The use of cooling towers and reverse osmosis water treatment contribute to a 30% reduction in energy usage and 36,000m3 of water re-use every year.

We also used a bio-diverse green wall to subtly camouflage and reduce the mass of the main data centre, which also uses recycled rain water for its irrigation.

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Image of a data centre. Credit: Arup

Part of the U.K. Meteorological Office campus, this BREEAM ‘Excellent’ data centre is supported by 1000m2 of collaborative office space. The data centre powers a meteorology computer forecasting system that, once fully operational, will be able to run 16,000 trillion calculations per second – and will have a maximum electricity demand of approximately 2.7MW. Arup’s data centre team provided building services engineering as well as acoustics consultancy, and testing and commissioning support. Our contribution also included creation of a building services model to BIM Level 2 standards. This new facility enables more detailed weather forecasting and climate modelling, contributing to improved UK resilience to extreme weather events and future advances in climate science. 

Science: facilities for the future

Arup’s clients in science span academic, institutional and corporate sectors. We incorporate best practice and innovation across sectors to help clients create more cost-effective, sustainable and adaptable facilities.

The Future of Labs

How the changing nature of research impacts the future of laboratory design is explored by Arup in the ‘Future of Lab’s’ report. A changing demographic of the workforce, increased desire for a greater work-life balance and technological advancement will enable advanced analysis of data and transform how research is undertaken.

The report also offers recommendations for future lab design, which reflect a digitally focused and human-centred approach to workplace design.

Download the report

Francis Crick Institute: Our ambition was to create a world-leading centre of biomedical research

Creating world-class research spaces

Our experience equips us for projects such as the Francis Crick Institute, which is set to become Europe’s biggest biomedical research centre, or to create models of energy-efficient research space, as at Princeton University. Our science specialists know how to design exacting spaces – such as high-containment laboratories and major manufacturing plants such as Biogen Idec’s facility in Denmark.

Industry: fine-tuning solutions

For international clients, such as Procter & Gamble (P&G), Toyota and Kraft (Cadbury), Arup provides a globally coherent response, but one which is attuned to the challenges of regional markets.

We can help streamline operations and lift productivity in mature markets. Or, where new markets are emerging, we can deliver major projects that meet demand and adapt to growth.

Arup provides solutions for manufacturing plants, industrial processes, distribution centres and logistics, as well as specialised services including seismic design, fire engineering and sustainability consulting. Our comprehensive skills equip us to engineer a facility as well as its utilities, as we did for Asia Aluminium and P&G Milenio in Mexico, or to consult on emerging solutions such as combined heat and power networks and renewable energy.