January 2, 2020

Denny Substation by NBBJ: 2019 Best of Year Winner for Civic

When Seattle City Light, the city’s publicly owned electric power utility, challenged the firm to configure a substation within a densely populated urban center, NBBJ partner Jose Sama, senior associate Katie Davis, and their team hit upon the idea of enhancing the community’s awareness of energy through a vibrant municipal space. The translucent glass and stainless-steel panel enclosure of the resulting Denny substation slopes inward, encouraging visitors to engage with the facility from the outside in.

Elevated 16 feet above street level, the 110,000-square-foot facility is crowned with multiple terraced walkways, creating an ADA-accessible quarter-mile loop that draws in pedestrians. Natural light floods the interior meeting rooms, public art gallery, and other gathering spots, which are accompanied by integrated educational graphics.

Since the client is considered the nation’s greenest utility, sustainability was implicit from the start. Projected to be net positive, the building generates 105 percent of its own energy needs with a range of eco innovations, including an HVAC system that harnesses excess heat from the substation to warm and natural ventilation to cool.

Photography courtesy of Sean Airhart.
Photography courtesy of Benjamin Benschneider.
Photography courtesy of Benjamin Benschneider.

Project Team: Blake Fisher; Carl Tully; Ryan Fagre; Scott Roaf; Kerry Hegedus; Pete Lorimer; Eric Levine; Joseph Montange.

> See more from the December/January 2020 issue of Interior Design

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