Martin Substation

The design problem was to build a security wall around a transmission and distribution substation of nearly one mile in length in a neighborhood with industrial, commercial, and residential adjacencies.

Our goal was to meet the programmatic goals of the security wall while creating a design that would engage passersby day or night. urb-in worked with the client to write the design brief and the Request for Proposal, then hired an agile design team to fulfill our vision.

The resulting built project enhances practical elements with unique features. Our design recalls the client’s historical practices of building lasting artifacts which project its values and commitments to the communities it serves.

The security wall runs along Geneva and Bayshore Avenues in southern San Francisco. Rather than create a featureless and imposing ten-foot monolith, the architects designed a public face with alternating in-set panels of structural channel glass and Heath ceramic tiles. Solar-powered LED lights illuminate the channel glass, creating an ambient glow around the outer edge of the substation.