Award of Merit - Higher Education/Research

Located on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus, The National Center for Supercomputing Applications Petascale Computing Facility is a state-of-the-art building designed to provide a secure and efficient operating environment for the Petascale system, supporting cyber-infrastructure and associated technical and research personnel.

Photo: Matt Mcfarland
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The PCF will become home to the world’s fastest supercomputer, known as Blue Waters, which will operate at 10 petaFLOPs (one thousand trillion floating point operations per second).

The machine will have the computing power of the current top 500 supercomputers in the world. The building was designed according to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Building Standards and Design Guidelines. It was also constructed as a hardened building designed to withstand an F3 tornado.

The two-story facility is constructed of structural steel with a precast facade featuring brick in-lay. The building was sited and designed to accommodate future expansion on the west side of the property.

The site location was chosen due to its close proximity to the existing Abbott Power Plant and the Oak Street Chiller Plant. The location allows for economical utility distribution, as well as reliable and redundant power and cooling sources for the facility.

Key Players

Developer/Owner: National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Urbana-Champaign, Ill.
CM: Clayco Inc., St. Louis
Architect: Gensler, Chicago
Civil Engineer: Terra Engineering, Chicago
Structural Engineer: Rubinos & Mesia Engineers Inc., Chicago
MEP Engineer: EYP Mission Critical Facilities Inc., New York