Denny Substation

Finalist 2020

Substations are critical to a city’s power supply, but they are often eyesores. The Denny Substation, which is the first Seattle substation to be built in 30 years, is positioned to usher in a new paradigm of urbanism by engaging its citizens with public infrastructure. Seattle City Light is set to be the nation’s greenest utility, fully integrated educational information intends to promote this as well as the facility’s commitment to environmental and social equity.

Public benefit at the Denny Substation includes 44,000 square feet of open space that activates the neighborhood including an off-leash dog park and a 0.25-mile walking loop. This public space is for the benefit of the neighborhood. People play checkers, meet up at the dog park, and walk the quarter-mile path daily.

The public space creates an educational venue through curated moments, telling the story of Seattle City Light, its history, and the city's focus on sustainability. This is achieved by connecting multiple experiences throughout the space. Through the use of graphics, sculpture, and signage, a vibrant and active space has been created for the community to enjoy and makes it fun and easy for visitors to learn about hydroelectric power production in the Northwest.

Capitalizing on the unique architecture of the Denny Substation, signage forms and graphics were inspired by the futuristic building shape. Signage and sculpture materials were chosen to complement the glass and metal facade. Windows that allow a public view of the inner workings of the substation provide surface area for informative graphics that show Seattle City Light’s ongoing commitment to environmental and social equity in the community, and how the utility company is considered the greenest in the nation.

The Denny Substation uniquely provides spaces for people to not only view the inner-workings of the substation, but also to meet, play, and enjoy outdoor art. Fully integrated EGD with the architecture and interiors, communicate Seattle City Light's mission and commitments to sustainability and equity. Designed to inform people now, and for generations to come, visitors will understand that our land not only sustains our life but also inspires it.

Design Firms: 

NBBJ

Client: 

Seattle City Light

Project Area: 

100,000 sq ft

Open Date: 

July 2019

Project Budget: 

N/A

Photo Credits: 

Eric LeVine, Sean Airhart, Benjamin Benschneider

Design Team: 

Samuel Stubblefield, Eric LeVine (principals in charge), Cari Scotkin (project manager), Christina Sakura, Bryan Berg, April Soetarman, Joel Fariss, Chuong Tonnu, Olin Nespor, Mara Stokke (designers)

Fabricators: 

Trade-Marx Signage & Display Company (lead fabricator)

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