Seattle Sound Transit U District station opens


Seattle’s new 105,000 square foot U District station has opened. The project designed by LMN Architects creates a unified transportation solution and provides a new gateway to the University of Washington campus.

District U Station is a highly functional, easy-to-use, scale-appropriate transit hub ideally located for the various activities of students, workers, and visitors commenting on a daily basis. This is the first stop on the Northgate Link, a 4.3 mile northbound streetcar extension from the University of Washington Station.

The station’s train platform is located 85 feet below street level, with most of the entire 105,000 square foot area below ground level. Each of the two entrances to the station provides elevators, escalators, and stairs to the trains below. The North Entrance Hall serves passengers heading to and from the adjacent Neptune Theater and Mixed Use Quarter, as well as a major Metro bus transfer hub on NE 45th Street. The South Hall provides pedestrians with a direct link to the UW campus a few blocks east. The sidewalks and streets facing the entrances meet Green Street standards and feature extensive landscaping, pedestrian lighting, seating walls, and a bike path. The two entrance halls offer a storage room for bicycles and racks.

From the north and south halls, commuters descend via the escalator and stair tubes to a mid-level open landing that is placed in a large, bulky central space. From there they can continue to the train platform below via open escalators and an open staircase. The landing appears to float above the angled bracing members and is offset to the east. This offset, along with the installation of artwork and videos on the west wall, creates a design asymmetry that helps define the north-south direction and direction on the platform.

The large central volume is defined by a white corrugated iron ceiling and sloping walls that conceal the essential functions of the rear of the house. Orientation is enhanced by suspended aluminum tubes containing lights, speakers and other systems. Two different colors help passengers orient north and south: orange for north and blue for south.

The completed project anticipates record numbers of cyclists as Seattle’s urban evolution continues.

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