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Unveiled> OSU Chiller Plant
Ross Barney Architects wrap Ohio State University's ten-story plant with a high-polish finish
Diachronic glass fins cast colorful shadows on the chiller's polished concrete facade.
Ross Barney Architects

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
Completion: 2012

Alan G. Brake

Ohio State University chiller plant by Ross Barney Architects

Ohio State University chiller plant by Ross Barney Architects

Rather than just reveal mechanical space within, OSU's chiller plant expresses energy itself.
Ross Barney Architects