US practice Ross Barney Architects have completed the $50.5m Ohio State University South Campus Central Chiller Plant, which now serves as an iconic anchor at a major entry and pathway into campus, providing a long-term, efficient and sustainable solution for chilled water production and distribution.
The chillers for the plant, which has a total chilled water capacity of 30,000 tonnes, were installed in phases and are remotely controlled at the central power plant with robust industrial control systems.
The new plant - completed in June - is made from concrete precast panels with a high sheen polish finish. Large glazed openings are located to help identify the function of the building by framing views of the chiller equipment. Since there are no visible moving parts, dichoric glass fins located in the joints of the precast panels, convey a sense of motion as the colours change from the movement of the sun, creating a kaleidoscope of colour.
The plant is located in a surface parking lot west of the College of Pharmacy. Although the visible site is situated at the edge of campus, pedestrian movement from a nearby recently relocated road is considered an important pathway to the main campus. To reinforce this, the landscaping around the building consists of a plaza and landform seating area to engage pedestrian traffic.