Skip to content

Audio Version

See more about

More info

Larkin Street Substation Expansion

The newly completed electrical switchgear building is the first Net Zero Energy (NZE) targeted electrical substation building in the United States. Tucked midblock on Eddy Street between Larkin and Hyde in San Francisco, the steel frame concrete structure is a modern addition to the existing historic 1962 substation building designed by PG&E to supply power to the northeastern part of the city.

 width=

The constrained property and need to accommodate crane and equipment lift access prescribed the expansion’s perpendicular orientation to the existing substation. The utilitarian structure features street-facing façades that integrate three types of GFRP panels – sloped, perforated, and ribbed – to form a faceted surface that belies its otherwise modest materiality. Each panel is individually crafted and unique, with ribs that cast linear shadow patterns in sunlight, creating an ever-changing surface throughout the day and year.

 width=

 

Sloped panels embedded with lighting fixtures pulsate across the building at night, expressing the City’s dynamic electrical power grid. The west-facing green wall, planted in a geometric pattern that echoes the faceted concrete walls, provides biophilic relief to the urban block while asserting its contribution to green values. A fine-grained metal mesh provides a transition between the existing and new addition and is also used to bookend the façade.

 width=

 

On top, 60 kW solar panel arrays offset the building’s energy consumption. Large vents at the base of the building exploit the City’s cool temperatures through natural ventilation that help eliminate the need for artificial cooling and reduce the building’s energy load by nearly 40 percent. Inside, supplemental fans, triggered only at high temperatures, help to cool the building only when needed. A comprehensive deep dive to understand the electrical needs of each discrete piece of equipment – from mechanical systems to the hand dryer in the restrooms – led to an incremental load reduction.

 width=

The PG&E Larkin Substation addition is the first targeted net-zero electrical switchgear utility building to get a rating from the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) Living Building Challenge. The design team collaborated with ILFI in order to establish a rating system for registering the unprecedented building type.

 width= width=

urbanNext (March 5, 2024) Larkin Street Substation Expansion. Retrieved from https://urbannext.net/larkin-street-substation-expansion/.
Larkin Street Substation Expansion.” urbanNext – March 5, 2024, https://urbannext.net/larkin-street-substation-expansion/
urbanNext July 25, 2022 Larkin Street Substation Expansion., viewed March 5, 2024,<https://urbannext.net/larkin-street-substation-expansion/>
urbanNext – Larkin Street Substation Expansion. [Internet]. [Accessed March 5, 2024]. Available from: https://urbannext.net/larkin-street-substation-expansion/
Larkin Street Substation Expansion.” urbanNext – Accessed March 5, 2024. https://urbannext.net/larkin-street-substation-expansion/
Larkin Street Substation Expansion.” urbanNext [Online]. Available: https://urbannext.net/larkin-street-substation-expansion/. [Accessed: March 5, 2024]

Related Tags

Related posts

Global Tags

urbanNext | expanding architecture to rethink cities and territories

Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter

Search
Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt
Formats
Audio&visual
Concept
Data
Essay
Forum
Lecture
Podcast
Project
Talk
Survey
Statement
Selfthink
High Density
Middle Density
Low Density
No Density

talk

essay

project

product

survey

data

all formats