University of Texas at Austin Tower Air Handler Replacement

It’s About Time, it’s About Space!

The Main Building Tower on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin is one of the most iconic structures on any college campus in the country. EEA was tasked with replacing the existing air conditioning system for the upper half of the Tower with “zero down-time” for the building occupants. The new air handling equipment would need to be constructed while the old system continued to serve the building. That was EEA’s task and we had creative solutions to meet the challenge of “zero down-time.”

Additionally, it was clear from reviewing old construction photographs that the upper walls and clock faces of the Tower had been built around the old 1950’s air conditioning system and there was no extra floor space for the new system.

A Solution Out of Thin Air

There may have been no floor space, but there was a large void behind the Tower clocks under the bell tower. While exploring the building and possible design solutions, we decided to use the void to create our own floor space and design a new equipment platform in mid-air for the new unit. The solution involved disconnecting the north and east clock shafts, protectively covering the clock faces, and constructing a new stairwell to reach the bell tower.

The entire system was constructed behind the scenes in the occupied building and put into operation during the two week Christmas break.

Supplemental services included the shooting and production of a narrated video of the construction of the project titled Creative Solutions at UT Austin.