Nashville Electric Service
11th Avenue Substation
The design balances form and function, elevating a substation to a neighborhood enhancement.
Located in the Gulch district, the substation design seamlessly integrates public infrastructure into the residential fabric of the neighborhood. Typically an urban eyesore, the new substation features an artistic façade that embodies both form and function.
Room to breathe
Substation equipment requires open air to maintain temperature control, often referred to as “breathing room.” To allow the building to breathe, the design team developed a gill and fin metaphor, applied both literally and figuratively to the space.
The façade’s perforated metal appears tightly woven near the ground, and gradually becomes more open as it continues upward. This movement mimics the movement of fins of a fish, creating visual interest and allowing air to pass through the building.
With neutral tones and a branded façade, the building does not disrupt the visual identity or economic growth of the area. Activity in and out of the building is minimal and infrequent, leaving the current traffic in the neighborhood unchanged. Enlarged sidewalks, landscaping and an extended bike path help support urban activation and connectivity to retail and dining.