Leroy Pond Central Utility Plant
university of arkansas | fayetteville
New additions to the University of Arkansas’s athletic valley gave rise to the need for an upgraded infrastructure. As a key player in the athletics master plan, Modus Studio was selected as part of the counsel to the university on appropriate placement and design for a new chiller plant. In addition to supporting future growth in the athletic valley, the new chiller plant will supplement the existing buildings of Bud Walton Arena, the HPER building, and Pomfret Hall. After working with the many departments involved—housing, facilities management, the university’s planning office, to name a few—the best location for future growth became very apparent. Centrally located between Bud Walton Arena and Pomfret Hall, the project is a highly visible learning experience that exposes its inner workings through a glazed southern façade to students and visitors and subtly obscures the rooftop towers with a perforated copper screen.
In order to preserve the pedestrian way to the West of the utility plant, the scale of the building responds to both Pomfret Hall to its East and Bud Walton Arena to its West. By stepping back, both scales are responsibly negotiated while affording light and views to the western walkway. The southern façade aligns with Pomfret Hall to define the northern edge of a future quad and sits along a primary circulation path on the campus for both students and visitors. The structural bays reference the existing bays of Pomfret Hall in order to create a beautiful cadence along the southern façade while board formed concrete mimics Pomfret Hall’s floor plate scale at the pedestrian level. A perforated metal screen responds to this issue by surrounding the rooftop chillers and above the height of pedestrians to offer a beautiful means of sound attenuation and visual obstruction. The perforation of the copper screen facade responds to the needs of sound attenuation, air flow, and formal aesthetics while being sensitive to the views from the dormitory to the East. In the evenings the interior is lit to showcase a typically hidden interior of the plant. And on game days or events color changing LED lights will light the towers and surrounding grounds in a University of Arkansas Razorback red.