Ohio State University South Campus Central Chiller

The South Campus Central Chiller Plant will provide the Medical District of the Ohio State University a long term, efficient and sustainable solution for chilled water production and distribution. Durability and redundancy will be addressed with a modular design with additional components of all critical equipment to maintain 12,500 tons of chilled water for the medical center customers. To further increase reliability, emergency power will be installed with the chiller plant to provide chilled water for critical operations during power outages.

The ultimate capacity of the Chiller Plant will be 30,000 tons of chilled water. The installation the chillers will be installed in phases to address requirements of the medical center and will be remotely controlled at the central power plant with robust industrial control systems.

Phase one of the chiller plant will be a minimum of 15,000 tons for the new Cancer and Critical Care Tower and the gradual replacement of aging equipment located in existing buildings of the medical campus.

The chiller plant will be constructed in the current location of a surface parking lot west of the College of Pharmacy. The site is currently below the flood plain and will require underground utility relocations and the location of critical equipment above this elevation.

The siting of the building took into consideration the relocation of Cannon Drive and future extension of Kinnear Road. The new chiller plant will serve as an iconic anchor for this future intersection.

The materials for the new chiller plant will be concrete precast panels with a high sheen polish finish. Large glazed openings are located to help identify the function of the building by framing views of the chiller equipment.

Since there are no visible moving parts, dichroic glass fins located in the joints of the precast panels, will convey a sense of motion as the colors change with the movement of the sun. The design incorporates sustainable principals and will be integrated with the planning of LEED certification of other District facilities.

Although the building is located at the edge of campus, on a very prominent, visible site, pedestrian movement along Cannon is an important pathway to the main Campus. To reinforce the path, landscaping around the building will consist of a plaza and landform seating area to engage the pedestrian traffic.

As a part of the University’s Framework Plan for the Cannon Drive Corridor, a “pond” of prairie grass will be planted on the west of the building to respond to the revitalization of the greenscape along the nearby Olentangy River.


Project Type


Columbus, Ohio, United States

Related links


  • Ross Barney Architects
  • Champlin Architecture
  • Ross Barney Architects