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Project Info


University of California, Los Angeles


The Ralph M. Parsons Company (RMPco)/ Kiewit Pacific Construction, a joint venture


Holt Hinshaw Jones; Jones, Partners: Architecture


Parsons Main (formerly C.T. Main) (engineers)


Kiewit Pacific Construction


210,000 ft2


Campus Facilities Replacement Space, Including shops and offices for the Campus Facilities and Maintenance departments, and central chiller/combined cycle cogeneration plant producing 16,600 tons chilled water, 42.5 MW power, and 160,000 lb./hr. 150 psig steam


Eight Acres in the heart of the UCLA Campus, at the intersection of Westwood Boulevard and Circle Drive South


Caste-in-place concrete basement and foundations, steel frame structure above grade, precast and site laid brick veneer, smooth and corrugated metal panel,exposed mechanical system with hard cast ducts, steel catwalks and stairs


Designed for a phased construction on an extremely tight site, that permitted the campus shops occupying portions of the site to remain in operation until their replacement space in the new building was finished; the shops and offices are moved to the interior of the site, and the power plant to the streetfront-this prevents the clutter of the shopyards and maintenance vehicle parking areas from spilling out onto this major campus thoroughfare, and provides the building whth the large sculptural facade that honestly distinguishes this service building from the surrounding academic buildings and parking garages


$150 million ft2


March 1994

Project text

That the natural penetrates even to our densest urban cores is obvious in the immense efforts expended to mitigate her effects there: vast power plants are erected to turn back the night, chiller plants are built to alleviate the heat of the day and steam generators to transform the cool of the night. Yet we are generally embarrassed by these efforts—the often beautiful artifacts engineered to provide this light, cold and heat are hidden away, where they are not able to remind us of the effort and energy required to enjoy life in unnaturally dense environments of our cities. To reveal these measures is, in a way, to celebrate the power of the natural conditions they mitigate—and to hope that in mitigating their effects we do not forget we are never actually free from them.

Commissioned through a limited design/construct competition, UCLA’s new South Campus Chiller Plant celebrates the machinery of infrastructure. While sensitive to its surroundings, the use of familiar materials and architectural treatments is critical in application, rather than imitative. The building is not a mute box. It does not insist on hiding plant machinery, but proudly displays the inherently engaging qualities of technology as an integrated and carefully considered part of the composition. Architectural honesty is projected through the sophisticated interplay of its rich contextual palette and carefully expressed mechanical and electrical systems.