University of Pennsylvania Gateway Complex
Nestled into a lozenge-shaped parcel at the edge of the campus defined by a bend in the river, major roadways, and a railroad right of way, the screened chiller plant forms a memorable gateway to the campus.
Meeting the challenge of creating a large infrastructure installation while retaining maximum use of the site for a baseball field and other athletic activities, this competition- winning project employs a combined building and site concept. By wrapping the rectangular chiller plant with a continuous elliptical screen wall, the building adjusts to the curve of the river and roads leaving an optimal site for the baseball field and grandstand. The baseball field, with its nine-hundred seat grandstand and press box, is anchored in an earth berm with dramatic views of the city.
The sixty-foot high screen-wall is composed of perforated stainless steel panels, corrugated for stiffness, and attached to a steel framework laterally braced to the equipment building. By extending the screen enclosure beyond the boundaries of the plant itself, vehicle service areas are contained at the two ends of the structure, and the remaining portion of the site is free of vehicles for the full development of athletic activities. As an added benefit, the dimensions of the elliptical enclosure are the same as those of a quarter- mile jogging track.
The screen wall around the chiller plant celebrates the industrial nature of the structure and veils the building, making it a shimmering, silvery object by day crowned by rooftop cooling towers. By night, the building becomes a translucent glowing object, revealing the colorful equipment within.