The Seattle City Light Denny Substation is a Bright Spot in Urban Planning.

Construction on Seattle City Light’s Denny Substation is well underway, as residents look forward to the NBBJ-designed project aimed to bring the community together. As The Urbanist reports, the substation design hearkens back to a time when public works projects offered functionality and beauty to their neighborhoods. Situated on three parcels at the old Greyhound Maintenance Facility, the substation is set to open in 2018 and will offer cutting-edge architecture, viewing portals to learn about the building’s function, public art, an off-leash dog park, community spaces, landscaping, pedestrian improvements and a bus shelter to the burgeoning East Village neighborhood.

A rendering courtesy of The Urbanist shows how visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the facility’s function through interactive elements throughout the building.

“Seattle City Light has gone to great lengths to create an active public space out of what would typically be a boring substation facility,” The Urbanist reports, noting that the structure will include “a series of viewing portals and interpretive graphics that will give visitors a better understanding of the facility.” Interpretative features will be complemented by a walkway looping around the building and art installations including the Transforest, a sculpture by Lead Pencil Studio, and a Switchwall, which will change colors with the wind. Public spaces will include an off-leash dog park with pathways and play features, a gallery and meeting space, an exhibit hall and a small theater.

Lead Pencil Studio shares an initial concept of Transforest, courtesy of The Urbanist.

The Urbanist showcased a preview of some of the community spaces that will accompany the substation.

The amenities don’t end with the structure of the substation itself, as construction will also include more pedestrian-friendly crosswalks with curb bulbs, and a bus shelter to “provide shade and weather protection for bus riders waiting at the north Denny Way stop.” The space will showcase a modern design aesthetic, from the seating and rails to bicycle parking and a real-time kiosk with bus information.

As The Urbanist writes, Seattle City Light is showing that utility and design can fuse in what would otherwise be unremarkable public works projects: “An electrical substation can be more than just a substation. It can be a place to gather and celebrate while also supplying the resources needed for growth.”

Construction of the Denny Substation is slated for completion in 2018, and will add another amenity to the East Village neighborhood where residents will soon enjoy in-city living at NEXUS Condominiums a landmark tower at Howell Street and Minor Avenue that is scheduled for occupancy mid-2019.

A recent photo showcases the construction boom at Denny Way.

View the latest substation project updates here.