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with Leers Weinzapfel Associates

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Completed: Spring 2016

Photos: Anton Grassl/ESTO


Phase II of the UPenn MOD VII Chiller Plant completed the schematic parti of the original plant’s design, extending and completing the glass box within the plant’s screened enclosure.  The LEED rated plant addition substantially upgrades the capacity of the plant with new chillers, electrical equipment, and cooling towers, while also upgrading the control room, workshop, and other support spaces.


New event lighting at the cooling tower level emphasizes the plant’s role as a gateway to the UPenn campus.  The changing illumination of the cooling towers complements the translucent glow of the original screen wall around the chiller plant and the colorful equipment within at night. By day, the screen wall celebrates the industrial nature of the structure and veils the building, making it a shimmering, silvery volume whose character changes with the lighting conditions on the site.

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