Electrical power substations typically register aesthetically, at best, as monuments to industrial utilitarian functionality, with their clusters of transformers, switchgear, voltage regulators, lightning arrestors and wire going everywhere. Among electrical engineers, sales people, manufacturers and technicians, these may count things of beauty but to the general population they’re more of an eyesore.
Except, apparently, in Seattle. Wired magazine’s website has a piece singing the praises of the new substation to be built at Minor Ave. and Denny Way in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood near downtown. The design is the work of architectural firm NBBJ.
Faceted, stainless steel panels 35 feet high will shroud the electrical hardware; a ramped pedestrian path, an observation area overlooking Denny Way, and a color-shifting wall will make the place… pretty? Sorry—that’s just not how people usually talk about infrastructure.
The post includes a slide show with happy Seattlites strolling past. Could this be the dawn of electrical hipness?