Architectural Design Team Selected for NCAR Supercomputing Center

BOULDER–The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and its managing organization, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), announced today the selection of an architectural design team for a supercomputing center dedicated to advancing scientists’ understanding of climate, weather, and other Earth and atmospheric processes.

“We are pleased to be moving forward on this world-class, collaborative endeavor,” says NCAR director Eric Barron. “We are advancing an era of scientific progress and discovery through a partnership that will deliver top-notch resources to the world’s research community.”

The architectural design team, led by Denver-based H+L Architecture and California Data Center Design Group (CDCDG), was picked following a competitive selection process.

The Cheyenne-based facility is being developed in partnership with the University of Wyoming, the State of Wyoming, Cheyenne LEADS, the Wyoming Business Council, and Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power (CLF&P). It will contain some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers dedicated to improving scientific understanding of climate change, severe weather, air quality, and other vital atmospheric science and geoscience topics. The center will also house a premier data storage and archival facility that holds irreplaceable historical climate records and other information.

Selection of the design team represents an important milestone in the multi-step process that the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor, is using for reviews of the project. Pending the outcome of the reviews, construction can begin in December with the center opening in 2011.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with NCAR, UCAR, and partners to design a state-of-the-art, world-class, and energy-efficient supercomputer center that can become a model for the future of supercomputing in an environmentally friendly manner, ” says Scott Kuehn, principal at H+L Architecture.

Other engineering consultants on the team include RMH Group, Rumsey Engineers, and Martin/Martin, Inc.

“We have very specific design needs for this facility,” says Krista Laursen, who manages the project for NCAR’s Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL). “Our selection process was predicated on meeting future scientific computing requirements while exercising environmental stewardship.”

The requirements include energy efficient construction and certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

The team of H+L Architecture and CDCDG specializes in sustainable and energy efficient designs. H+L has more than 46 years of design experience along the Front Range. CDCDG is a leader in data center design worldwide, having designed more than 1.7 million square feet of state-of-the-art data centers.

—–A boost to Wyoming—–

Representatives of NCAR and UCAR are meeting today in Cheyenne with Governor Freudenthal and state legislators to provide an update on the project.

“The State of Wyoming has made generous investments in education and technology,” UW President Tom Buchanan says. “At UW, we have built centers for excellence in geology and geophysics, atmospheric sciences and mathematics and engineering. This supercomputer will give us the tools to develop our strengths in critical research areas. Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in the process and we’re pleased to be here to mark it.”

“The decision to locate the NCAR project in Wyoming recognizes that the state has a unique balance of physical and intellectual infrastructure to support such a high-level research institution,” says Bob Jensen, chief executive officer of the Wyoming Business Council. “Our expectation is that other entrepreneurs and companies will recognize these assets and decide to grow their businesses in Wyoming.”

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.