Iconic Infrastructure Design Integrates Landmark Form with Function
The design challenge for the east campus chilled water plant is to introduce a large critically needed infrastructure building while maintaining an important green space at the campus edge and providing a gateway to a new campus entry.
A sculptural solution for the chiller plant is integrated into the arts sculpture green along the campus edge facing town commercial activity across North High Street. The 15,000 ton chilled water plant is composed of two offset volumes - a lower two story glazed rectangular volume housing six chillers, and a lifted square perforated resin coated aluminum screen wall volume providing a cooling tower enclosure.
The result is an elegant approach that fits well with the site and its surrounding context. The luminous glass lower volume activates the surrounding pedestrian zones and contributes to site lighting needs. The repeating pattern of clear glass and translucent fritted glass in three frit densities and four sizes offers a consistent variability.
The translucent glass frit will glow at night and in combination with the narrow fully transparent panels will allow the building structure and the ghost of the varying equipment beyond to be visible both night and day. The perforated metal screen enclosure's regular syncopated pattern is composed of two screen densities and a narrow fully open space.
This metallic resin coated perforated aluminum assembly somewhat screens the varying large cooling tower equipment, piping and catwalks above the roof while providing about 50% open ventilation required for the equipment. The new chilled water plant will significantly improve overall campus central plant efficiency, and the building is targeted for LEED Gold certification.