Design Review – Crosstown Substation

As designers and curators of space, sometimes it takes time for our vision and intent to be fully realized in the built environment.  This can happen because the resources required to execute the vision aren’t available, or it could be that the stakeholders we originally sold on the design are no longer in place.  Unfortunately at times our vision isn’t fully realized because we didn’t clearly communicate our intent loud enough so that those that need to hear it get it.   As we take this moment to recognize projects from our past and present we think Crosstown Substation completed in 2013 warrants a mention as one of the most underutilized and unrecognized projects in Kansas City.

Pendulum was presented with the challenge of creating an architectural buffer between pedestrian traffic and high voltage electrical equipment that occupies an entire city block at the intersection of 18th Street and Holmes in the Crossroads District of Kansas City, MO.  Our solution ornamentally wrapped Zahner Solanum Weathering Steel around white concrete panels designed to display projected still and motion video (see image of full size mock up below).  A kinetic display of light was designed by artist Jim Woodfill to interact with the patterned weathering steel to create splashes of color and programmed motion.

Although the static white painted concrete panels that surround the substation survived several years without significant graffiti, sadly due to low traffic and the absence of curated projected art, we’ve seen an increase of vandalism over the past two years.  As we transition from winter to spring and the kick off of First Fridays in the Crossroads we’d love to see the substation utilized to its full potential and as intended.  Our vision for Crosstown Substation is a hub of pedestrian activity, a backdrop for local digital art, films, fashion shows, automotive gatherings, community events, cultural gatherings, concerts, etc.  The videos included in this blog represent a small cross section of what can be, hopefully a planted seed that one day blossoms into something much larger.  Stay tuned…this could be good!

For a virtual tour of our design click the link: Crosstown Substation Tour

 

 

Crosstown Substation – Night Photos

18th Street

Mr. Iiams finally caught a break in between projects and shot the substation a few nights ago.  Once it cools down a bit we’re thinking live music and food trucks…

Light Cabinet Close Up

Holmes Street

Holmes Street Close Up

18th & Holmes

18th & Cherry

Project Facts

  • 10,500 Color Changing LED Lights
  • Powered By 115 Solar Panels (25 Kilowatts)
  • 64 Tons of Weathering Steel

Most Common Questions

  • “What is that thing?”
  • “Hey man…where’s the front door to this night club?”
  • “What’s a substation?”

Project Team

  • Architect/Designer – Pendulum
  • Lighting Consultant – Derek Porter Studio
  • Structural Engineer – Dubois Consultants
  • Commissioned Artist (Main Plaza Light Cabinet Display) – James Woodfill
  • Concrete Contractor – Turner Special Projects
  • Steel Contractor/Fabricator/Supplier – Zahner

KCP&L East Crossroads Art Wall Update

As an update to our last post we’ve installed the full size art wall mock-up on site at the corner of 19th and Cherry (KCP&L Crosstown Sub Station).  If you are in town feel free to visit and experience the scale of the project in context.  The majority of the block will be wrapped with our steel panel system…approximately 1000 feet.  The temporary lighting installation should be on site later this week…we’ll keep you posted.

Just in case you are wondering, the diagonal bracing flanking both sides of the mock-up will NOT exist in the final design, this is a temporary fix for a minor logistical issue…they always seem to pop up at the most inopportune times.