As architect and engineer-of-record for the Tampa International Airport’s Central Utility Plant, HNTB took an innovative approach to infrastructure that’s typically hidden away: Make it a showpiece.
“TPA’s vision turned a utilitarian building into a gem in the center of their campus,” said Mathew Hallett, HNTB architectural project designer.
The 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art plant is home to an upgraded heating and air conditioning system for the airport’s Main Terminal, including a SkyConnect train station.
Tucked into a bend in the airport’s Red (north) Side the curved building mirrors the curve of the roadway.
Windows allow guests exiting the airport’s Red Side drive to see the maze of brightly colored pipes and mechanical equipment inside. At night, multicolored LED lighting enhances the surprising visuals. The reclaimed water used in the cooling towers does double duty as an architectural water feature.
But it’s not just a work of art inside and out. It’s also designed to:
● Reduce chiller energy consumption by 30 percent
● Save 8 million gallons of potable water each year by using reclaiming water for the cooling towers
● Increase capacity from 3,600 tons to 4,800 tons
● Provide additional redundancy to meet peak demand
“We showed with this project that a largely mechanical building doesn’t need to be hidden away,” said Andres Chacon, HNTB project manager. “It can help you reach your sustainability goals, and better serve your facilities and customers and tenants, but also be beautiful, something special.”
The Central Utility Plant at Tampa International Airport is part of Phase 2 of a three-phase Master Plan developed by HNTB for the airport. Phase 2 also includes demolition of existing buildings, the first-of-their-kind Express Curbs, an APM station, a pedestrian bridge, airport loading and receiving docks, elevated roadways, and reclaiming a parking garage as office space.
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