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Entrant Name
NBBJ

Design Team
Jose Sama Carl Tully John Savo Blake Fisher Ryan Fagre Scott Roaf Kerry Hegedus Eric LeVine Brian Henry Sam Stubblefield Joel Farris Christina Sakura Kimball Bergerud CJ Brockway

Collaborators
Power Utility Design: Power Engineers Inc. Architecture: NBBJ Civil: KPFF Structural: KPFF Landscape: HBB Mechanical: Notkin Electrical: Tres West Engineering Environmental Graphics: NBBJ Lighting: NBBJ

Owner / Client
Seattle City Light

Seattle City Light - Denny Substation

All Submissions > Conceptual

The Denny Substation design represents a physical merging of public infrastructure, urban design, landscape architecture, and architecture. It aims to create a symbol of pride for the Cascade Neighborhood, Seattle City Light, the City of Seattle, and the natural region that powers our city. Aside from providing much-needed power, the project will educate visitors about producing power in a way that sustains our region’s precious natural resources.

The substation responds to Seattle’s rapid growth, particularly the Tech and Bio-med sectors that are revitalizing the South Lake Union neighborhood but are simultaneously creating a heavy demand for power. The substation’s physical form will stand as a significant historical marker of this era and signifies a critical investment in Seattle’s future economic engine.

The enclosure’s multiple terraced walkways elevate pedestrians onto the substation to give them an intimate understanding of the facility through integrated graphics, educational components, landscape and seating areas. Elevated 16’ above Denny Way’s busy traffic, the substation affords visitors a unique urban vantage point. Additionally, the upper enclosure walls angle away from pedestrians to mitigate bulk and scale and to increase access to light and air on all sides. Its footprint allows ample open space for art, seating, and potentially even an off-leash zone for the area’s many dogs. The rising and falling walkways surrounding the substation create an A.D.A-accessible quarter-mile ambulatory loop.

The idea of an 110,000 sf mostly unmanned facility initiated a spirited civic discussion about how to best activate the project’s edges. Two zones are currently identified at the perimeter for future programmed functions to address the need for occupied usable areas. The goal is to develop occupied spaces such as a learning center or other community-related uses.

The substation’s lighting scheme creates a sensor-based swarming effect that subtlety follows nighttime visitors up and around the facility and essentially puts them “on display.” The inward-sloping enclosure walls also allow unobstructed views down to the facility from neighboring buildings to give the local community a sense of ownership.

The Denny Substation is currently entering the Construction Documents phase of the design process. This design is the designated preferred alternative and is not yet identified as the selected design. The selected design will be formalized following the completion of the EIS. The project was unanimously approved by the Seattle Design Commission for “Urban Design Merit” for the street vacation process and “60% Design” for the Capital Improvements Process.