Metal fins and abundant glass boldly announce Harvard University’s District Energy Facility (DEF) which, quite literally, provides windows on the building’s state-of-the-art equipment. The DEF, designed by Leers Weinzapfel Associates, efficiently generates electricity and hot and cold water for the school’s expansion into Boston’s Allston neighborhood. The team designed the LEED Gold natural gas–fired cogeneration plant—the first building in what will be a dense urban campus—for flexibility, anticipating future technological innovation and demands on capacity. Conceived to withstand flooding, dampen sound, and reduce emissions, the resilient structure includes a thermal energy-storage tank, backup equipment, and self-restart capabilities. These high-performance inner workings guided the team’s approach for the building that contains them. “We wanted the facility to have an elegant, refined exterior, but one that didn’t compromise any of the equipment’s requirements,” says founding principal Jane Weinzapfel. A galvanized-steel structure supports the glazed curtain wall and anodized-aluminum fins, which are rotated at different angles on each side of the cube for varying degrees of opacity. The DEF facilitates engagement with an “energy-on-display” model, Weinzapfel explains. “It would be a shame to button it all up.”