West Combined Utility Plant, University of Chicago Winner

Distinguished Building Award, Citation of Merit

The West Combined Utility Plant site is defined by the typical Chicago Street grid, the building is tight to the street wall on 56th Street and Maryland Avenue, to the south a landscaped yard is centered on the axis of the promenade aligned on the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Monument. The responding building form is edgy and prismatic.

The Plant produces both Chilled Water and Steam for campus distribution. Two Steam Boilers are located on the 2nd Floor along with a Shop, Parts, Supplies, Equipment and Tools Storage Areas. The Second Floor Mezzanine has a Supervisors Office, Operations/Maintenance Staff Locker Room and Operations/Maintenance Staff Conference Room.

The building has a common façade language composed of two principal systems which facilitate showcasing of the major equipment while allowing the buildings to “breath” in and out in response to individual internal air intake and exhaust requirement. In major equipment rooms, there is floor to floor Low Iron Ultra Clear Glass supported on Steel Bar Mullions – all the building’s technical systems are visible from the Street – equipment, piping, valves, columns, girders, beams. and floor decks.

By virtue of their nature, the principal occupants of these buildings are machines rather than people.

University of Chicago Facilities Services
  • Burns & McDonnell
  • Primera Engineers
  • Terry Guen Design Associates
  • Werner Sobek
General contractor
Bovis Lend Lease
Chicago, Illinois