Leers Weinzapfel Associates’ new 10,592-square-foot chiller plant at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the latest in the firm's extensive portfolio of infrastructure work. A component of the university’s 2012 Campus Master Plan, it will increase the reliability and capacity of chilled water service throughout its growing north campus core by reimagining the existing regional plant it replaces.
Located in the engineering quadrant, the North Chiller Plant was planned for a narrow zone between an existing, outmoded 1991 plant and an existing engineering building. This approach allowed the existing facility to continue operation during construction while its equipment was relocated to the new space and new mechanical and electrical systems were installed. Then, the original plant was demolished. The design of the North Chiller Plant was proposed to remain outside a view shed from the center of campus to the Northwest, referred to as “The Feather” in the Campus Master Plan. Its parallelogram shape accommodates new chillers parked at an angle inside the narrow building, while allowing important campus views from the existing engineering building.