In recent years, some architects have been wrapping new chiller plants in eye-catching skins. Often these structures are glass boxes within metal scrims, which allow the mechanicals to be visible on the exterior. “Putting a chiller in a glass box means you have to chill the chiller plant,” said Carol Ross Barney, principal of Ross Barney Architects in Chicago. For Ohio State University’s new ten-story plant, Ross Barney instead designed a precast concrete box, which will be given a high-polish finish. Fins of diachronic glass will cast colored rays across the reflective surface of the concrete, and a series of openings will offer glimpses into the mechanicals inside. “Rather than just showing the pipes, we wanted to represent energy itself,” she said.
Architect: Ross Barney Architects
Client: Ohio State University
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Alan G. Brake