Sound Transit University of Washington Station

Sound Transit University of Washington Station | LMN Architects

| 11 : 30 – 27 June 2018 |


Sound Transit for University of Washington, LMN Architects, Seattle


Sound Transit for University of Washington designed by LMN Architects standing at a busy street intersection in Seattle, is a fusion of art and architecture.

Proving to be unique gateway for UW campus, the transit project includes train platform 100 feet below ground connected via escalators and elevators from a 2-level glass entrance structure. This above-ground steel and glass structure frames scenic views of its surroundings including Lake Washington and Cascade Mountains. Acting also as a light well, the structure allows daylight to reach the mezzanine interiors.

Sound Transit for University of Washington, Staircase, Escalators

Surface level entry and exit

Passing through various levels connecting the urban fabric around the transit, one enters a interior compartment adorning artworks of renowned artist Leo Saul Berk. The digitally designed and fabricated metal panels showcase the artists interpretation of the earth’s geologic layers as one is transiting in the interconnected spaces.

Sound Transit for University of Washington, Exterior view

Glass and steel structured box


Sound Transit University of Washington Station, Transit escalators

Moving towards the underground transit 

From the Architects – 

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 of the 156,000-square foot station 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.

Sound Transit University of Washington Station, Building section

Lateral building section


Sound Transit for University of Washington

Aerial view of the urban fabric around the transit 

Design elements throughout the station create a sense of movement and connection with the urban fabric. Between the surface and the train platform 100 feet below, circulation paths follow an orchestrated sequence of moments, constantly orienting users to the station’s overall volume, structure and internal flow. Visual connections between multiple levels also create a strong sense of orientation.

Sound Transit University of Washington Station, Rampway

Multiple access way to the entrance

The 2-level glass entrance structure frames views of the surrounding context, including Lake Washington and the Cascade Mountains. The transparency also serves as a light well, allowing daylight to reach down to the mezzanine level. Colored ceramic wall tiles animate the mezzanine and ticket machine areas with energetic green motion lines.

Sound Transit University of Washington Station, Ceramic wall tiles

Glossy ceramic wall tiles add in energetic effect

An art chamber – 

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 Berk’s artwork, Subterraneum, that expresses the geological layers of soil surrounding the station walls.

Sound Transit for University of Washington

An art chamber – Artist Leo Saul Berk’s digital art wall


Sound Transit University of Washington Station, digital art print

Kaleidoscope of Berk’s artwork

Mechanical systems are layered into the architecture, subordinated to the larger gestures of art, daylight, and efficient movement through the space. A linear green service armature follows the circulation pathways overhead, suspending light fixtures and public-address speakers. Behind the scenes, an extensive emergency smoke ventilation system, track crossover area, and maintenance spaces are nearly as large by volume as the circulation chambers. Two elliptically-shaped ventilation towers provide supply and exhaust air, anchoring each end of the below-grade structure.

Sound Transit University of Washington Station, Building section

Longitudinal building section

Surface connectivity – 

On the surface, the station’s new bicycle and pedestrian bridge, with stairs, escalators, and ramps connecting both levels of the entrance structure, curves gently as it spans over Montlake Boulevard to connect with the Rainier Vista on the university campus. The bridge plays a critical role in expanding Seattle’s bicycle commuter network, connecting the Burke-Gilman Trail with a new bike lane on the rebuilt State Route 520 floating bridge.

Sound Transit University of Washington Station, Public transporatation

Commuting network around the transit


Sound Transit University of Washington Station section, drawing

Detail section of the interior spaces


Sound Transit University of Washington Station exterior view

Exterior view of the glass structure next to Husky stadium

Each element of the project is carefully considered as a component of a larger whole, set within a complex web of uses that encompasses the campus, the surrounding neighborhoods, and important university destinations such as Husky Stadium, the Alaska Airlines Arena, Rainier Vista, and the UW Medical Center. Train passengers can now reach downtown Seattle in six minutes, and the SeaTac International Airport in roughly 40 minutes.

Sound Transit University of Washington Station, Underground transit

Underground transit platform

Project details –


Project Name – Sound Transit University of Washington Station

Architect  –  LMN Architects |

Project location – Seattle, Washington, United States of America

Project type – Transit station, Transportation facility, Civic

Built area – 1,57,856 sq. ft.

Completion year – 2016

Photography – © Kevin Scott |

Awards received

AIA National Honor Award for Interior Architecture – 2018

Chicago Athenaeum/Europe International Architecture Award – 2017

American Architecture Awards Airports and Transportation Centers – 2017

Architizer Popular Choice Winner, Architecture + Glass – 2017

Fast Company Innovation by Design Honorable Mention for Spaces, Places, Cities – 2016

AIA Washington Council Civic Design Awards Honorable Mention – 2016

AIA Seattle Chapter Award of Merit – 2016

City of Seattle Design Commission Design Excellence Award – 2016

Project team / Consultants – 

Northlink Transit PartnersMcMillen Jacobs Associates, HNTB and AECOM

Structural Engineering – KPFF and AECOM

Mechanical EngineeringHNTB

Landscape Architecture – Swift Company

Lighting Design – Light Wire

Architectural technical facilities coordination – Moniz Art & Architecture

Acoustical consultant – The Greenbusch Group

Artist – Leo Saul Berk |

Systems design – LTK Engineering Services

Construction management – START

Contractor – Hoffmann Construction Company

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