One of my favorite examples of design in Seattle is one that hardly garners a second look from most, should they even notice it at all. Located adjacent to the popular Burke-Gillman trail, there is a little gem of infrastructure that is an outstanding example of the modernist design aesthetic. It is a Seattle City Light sub-station, and I am completely smitten by it. Well, not the entire substation -- just the handsome pre-cast concrete structures supporting the transoformers and transmission lines (the concrete supports are the only elements that grace an otherwise banal compound). For years I have cycled by these personal icons of design, at speeds that allowed me to catch only a glimpse of their elegaence, yet enough of one to make me feel that I had found my own private little gems, seen by thousands but appreciated by few.
This New Year's Eve, when I happened to drive past them with camera in hand, I had to stop for some pics. Imagine my surprise when I realized after so many years that the large, elegant towers (the only elements that can really be seen from the Burke-Gillman), had a supporting cast (sic) of smaller, equally elegant pre-concrete supports. Each set os supports is unique, but all adhere to the same over-all design concept. My favorite remains the largest ones, no contempt there, with my favorite part being the pin joint in the center of the horizontal piece, revealing the tower's construction of two like halves -- so elegant.