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Huge Distillery District data centre rises on Parliament

The Distillery district isn't leaving its industrial heritage entirely behind it.

The big building currently going up on Parliament just north of Mill – five storeys, 125,000 square feet, no windows – will be a data centre.

"The building houses mainly computer racks for storing data," says architect Nicola Casciato with WZMH.

In a quickly developing part of town that includes not only the Distillery District, but the new Canary District, Bayside and the rest of the burgeoning East Port Lands, a windowless building filled with machinery could really weigh the place down.

"The architectural challenge was to design a building located within a rich architectural neighbourhood that has no windows," Casciato says. "Architects typically use windows to provide urban animation, in this case, the animation was provided through a richly detailed terra cotta façade system that recalls early computer punch card technology and responds to the local brick environment."

Urbacon, the Toronto- and Montreal-based construction and development company in charge of the project, did not want to discuss the building.

The data centre is being built in two sections, and what's visible now are three of the first five floors of the first section.

Construction began in March, 2013 and is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Nicola Casciato
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