McKinney York Architects


Central Chilling Station No. 6

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Facing growing demand for chilled water and the demolition of an aging chilling plant, the Utilities Department commissioned this new 15,000 ton Station No. 6. The need for proximity to the existing distribution network left No. 6 situated in the tight confines of the central campus, constrained on all sides by existing buildings, by a network of tunnels below, and by height restrictions above. The building balances equipment, security, and personnel requirements with a pedestrian-friendly exterior that adheres to the campus master plan. The design places the human-scaled program elements along the western face of the building which fronts courtyards at both ends. The brise soleil window wall of the office wing serves as counterpoint to the simple limestone and brick enclosure of the rest of the structure. In an allusion to the cooling effects of wind and rain the inverted pyramidal copper roof opens upward to the sky.

Publication: Texas Architect, Winter 2009

Sustainability: As of February 2011, this plant was the most energy-efficient chilling plant in the nation.  No. 6 alone reduced the Kilowatts per ton consumption across the entire campus (a total of four chilling stations) by over 18%.  The make-up water for this system is captured from a variety of campus sources, including foundation drains, swimming pools, and condensers. This allows the system to operate with very little need for domestic water.