More than a light rail station, the Sound Transit University of Washington Station adds multiple threads to the urban fabric at the intersection of Montlake Boulevard and Pacific Street. Knitting together transportation modalities from bike to bus to pedestrians to trains, the multi-disciplinary design creates a unified solution at a problematic street intersection, one of the busiest in Seattle, and provides a unique gateway to the UW campus through its above and below-grade experiences.
At the heart of the station experience, the escalators and glass elevator pass through a 55-foot high central chamber, one of the highest interior volumes in the city. LMN Architects and artist Leo Saul Berk collaborated to create an integrated experience for travelers, where the architecture seamlessly merges with his artwork, Subterraneum, that expresses the geological layers of soil surrounding the station walls.
Backlit, perforated metal panels clad the chamber walls, forming patterns of light that express the geological layers of earth, and suffuse the space with ambient light. The vertical angle of the chamber walls changes along the long axis, creating a twisting volume that offers varying views of the artwork from different vantage points on the escalators passing through the space. Various vantage points at the mezzanine and at the bottom of the chamber offer a chance to take in the views in a more static way. Glass end-walls take on the skewed shape of the chamber and provide a preview of the experience from the platform.