OSU South Campus Chiller Plant

Location: Columbus, Ohio
Program: Chiller Plant, 30,000 tons of chilled water
LEED Certification: Silver
Status: Complete 2013
Collaborative Partners: Champlin Architecture
Photography: © Feinknopf, Brad Feinknopf
Selected Recognition: World Architecture Festival, Finalist 2014, Energy Production Category. AIA Chicago, Distinguished Building Award, 2014. World Architecture News, Concrete in Architecture, Finalist 2014. PCI Design Awards, Custom Solution, 2014.

The Ohio State University South Campus Central Chiller Plant is an iconic marker at a major entry and pathway into campus and provides the Medical District of The Ohio State University with a long term, efficient and sustainable solution for chilled water production and distribution. Conceived of as a “House for Energy,” the LEED Silver Certified building, has an envelope that showcases the energy-efficient chiller equipment inside and records the sun’s energy on the exterior. Glazed openings are specifically located to frame views of the chiller equipment, and dichroic glass fins and boxes change in color with the movement of the sun and cast color-changing shadows onto modular precast concrete wall panels that have been polished to a high sheen. The result is a dynamic façade that changes with the time of day, season and the location of the observer. Functionally, the facility minimizes the visual, noise and vibration impact of large equipment: chillers, cooling towers, transformers and generators. The plant provides 30,000 tons of chilled water for the adjacent medical center facilities and will accommodate future campus cooling demands. To increase reliability, the plant has been equipped with an emergency power source to provide chilled water for critical operations during power outages.