A central cooling & heating plant serves the State Capitol and 23 other office buildings in Sacramento. Constructed in the 1960’s, the plant employs an open loop system that draws well water for cooling and returns warmed water to the Sacramento River. The State conducted a limited design competition, aimed at improving the efficiency and environmental operation of the plant as well as increasing capacity for future development.
Our solution embraces the technical and industrial nature of this structure. It features a thermal energy storage (TES) tank, part of a closed loop hydronic system. The tank is wrapped with a ‘torqued’ geodesic frame and panel system; the cooling towers are enclosed in a contrasting panel element with inset ‘lanterns’ with LED lighting providing night-time illumination. Layers of columns and walls provide a human-scale framing element at ground level to offset the large scale of the mechanical elements. The building shell was targeted for LEED Silver rating.