Of the substation:
“In the past, high-voltage substations were always industrial looking eyesores that, whenever possible, were banished from urban centres.” Ward Pincus, Siemens.
Can our cities become more creative as utility structures become harder and harder to hide?
Can our substations embellish the urban realm, rather than become a blemish on the face of the built environment?
The parallels I am drawing between the images on the left and right hand side of the page will form the basis of the brief.
Whilst not being an area designed for human occupation, the substation offers opportunity in terms of its layout and visual aesthetic. Much like the Japanese rock garden which should be viewed from a distance to fully appreciate its beauty, the substation too can be viewed only from a distance. Indeed, a cactus inside a terrarium, whilst beautiful to admire if planted thoughtfully among its surroundings, will give you a nasty prick if you decide to get too close…
Could we imagine that the utilitarian substation is becoming the private rooftop garden of corporations and buildings of the 21st century. Visible on the skyline of our cities, yet unable to get close to, if they were designed with the aesthetic of a human onlooker in mind, perhaps a new typology for ‘plant’ could arise…
Written by Christopher J Delahunt /// Bartlett M.Arch Graduate