Underground atomic shelter transformed into an internet provider's HQ
September 9, 2011
Set thirty meters (100 feet) underground, deep within the bedrock and in what was once used as a Swedish atomic bomb shelter, lies this high security internet center. What sounds like the perfect hideout for a CIA facility or a film set for the next Jason Bourne film, is actually the HQ for the Swedish internet server provider, Bahnhof. Named "Pionen, White Mountain," the internet service facility is centrally located in Stockholm, directly below the Sofia Church, where the cave-like formation houses server halls and offices.
The architectural firm behind this impressive transformation was Albert-France Lanord (AF-L), which was asked to treat the granite rocks as if they were a living organism. The idea was to bring human comforts from earth underground, such as plants, light, water and technology. "We created strong contrasts between rooms where the rock dominates and where the human being is a stranger against rooms where the human being took over totally," says AF-L. Daylight was obviously one of the biggest challenges for the architects, who designed a long tunnel, allowing for natural sunlight to filter through the underground space, with small buttresses to reflect the light into several zones.
The modest, single front entrance to the bomb resistant "Pionen" is protected by security 24/7. This high level of security provided by Bahnhof only seems fitting for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who according to the Daily Mail used the center in 2010 as a back-up server for the numerous confidential emails and documents in his possession.