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Mount Pleasant Substation


Location : Vancouver, British Columbia
Client : BC Hydro
Project Value: $35.9M

The Mount Pleasant Substation is the only publicly-visible portion of BC Hydro’s Vancouver City Centre Transmission Project and an integral part of the most significant investment in Central Vancouver’s electrical system in 30 years.

Project Challenge

Public utility buildings in the past typically had very pragmatic and functional design solutions, with very little input from City planners or the community and had very little social benefit to neighbours other than the provision of reliable power. WSP’s challenge was to find a design that would satisfy these normal pragmatic and functional aspects, as well as the complicated urban design issues, while providing an aesthetically pleasing building.

Project Outcome

The 400 MVA Mount Pleasant Substation accommodates complex electrical equipment and operational requirements and is designed to post-disaster structural standards to ensure the substation continues to operate after a major earthquake. Traditionally, substations employ very functional and pragmatic design solutions, often with large metal-clad equipment and exposed conductors inside chain link fence enclosures, but the Mount Pleasant Substation is different. Located in a residential neighbourhood, this substation not only provides reliable power, but also satisfies complicated urban design issues, providing an aesthetically pleasing building and addressing sustainability through public consultation and integrated design processes. Through a stepped-massing design, creative use of materials, dedicated green space and public art, the building fits into the urban fabric of its location and is the first substation on record constructed to meet LEED Silver requirements.

This project was the recipient of a 2014 Canadian Consulting Engineering Award of Excellence in the Natural Resources, Mining, Industry & Energy category.