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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Vassar Street Chilled Water Plant
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Albany Street Cogeneration Plant
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Vassar Street Cogeneration Plant
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Gordon Center for Integrative Science Chiller Facility
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University of Vermont
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Life Sciences Building
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
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Lorry I. Lokey Laboratory for Chemistry and Biological Sciences
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Marine Research Building
University of Chicago
Gordon Center for Integrative Science
University of Mississippi
New STEM Building
Lorain County Community College
New Laboratory Sciences Building
Rice University
MD Anderson Lab Renovation
Cuyahoga Community College
STEM Building Addition and Renovations
Michigan State University
STEM Complex

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Vassar Street Chilled Water Plant

Vassar Street Chilled Water Plant

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

4,400 gsf

$11,500,000

2001

The expansion of the Chilled Water Plant facility substantially increases the campus-wide central utility capacity of an original 1960’s two-story chiller plant. The addition houses a 5,000-ton steam absorption chiller at the main floor level, with associated pumps and equipment at the basement level. The acoustical glass exterior wall displays the entire colorful array of utility systems – machines, piping, and maintenance cranes.

 

The transparency of the chilled water plant addition, along with the end wall treatment, with its brightly colored metal wall and sculptural exit stair, defines the end of the utility complex and marks an important pedestrian path across nearby railroad tracks to a developing area of the campus. The materials – aluminum, steel, glass, and concrete – complement the existing utility complex and express the industrial character of the building. The design of the customized curtainwall façade relates to the adjacent building’s mullion lines, yet at the same time distinguishes this latest addition from the older structures. Constructed of colorfully painted light steel framing and woven wire mesh, the temporary egress stair creates an interesting sculptural composition of elements serving utilitarian purposes.

 

The monumental expanse of the main chiller hall, with its extensive natural light and lofty height, is reminiscent of the great industrial plants and water works of the 19th century. The building provides an efficient, well-lighted, 24-hour working environment for plant staff, a lively streetscape, and a welcome beacon throughout the night.