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April 17, 2015

Suspended Ceiling (Washington)
UW Sound Transit Link light rail station

Photo by Aaron Hatch
Performance Contracting encased the escalators at the UW light rail station in an aluminum shell.

Location: Seattle

Contractor: Performance Contracting

Architect: LMN Architects

Team: Armstrong World Industries, Creative Design Concepts/Mork Associates, GTS Interior Supply, Hilti

The University of Washington Sound Transit Link light rail station is located southwest of Husky Stadium in Seattle. It will provide convenient access to the UW campus, UW Medical Center, Husky athletic events, downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport.

The Sound Transit station design offers six sets of escalators to transport pedestrians 65 feet down to the underground train platform. Since the escalators play a major part in the transportation process, it was crucial for the design team to balance functionality with beauty.

Performance Contracting encased the escalators in an aluminum shell, with Ceilings Plus Illusion aluminum ceiling panels at the bottoms. The ceiling panels are held in place with a torsion-spring suspension system, allowing for easy access for maintenance.

The center of the station is called the “chamber,” where local artist and UW graduate Leo Saul Berk designed hatch-like patterns simulating geological layers onto custom metal panels surrounding the chamber walls and aligning with the escalator siding.

About 30 feet below grade, a pedestrian bridge spans across the chamber where perforated metal panels enclose the bottom and sides of the bridge into the chamber walls. At the entrance and on the mezzanine floor, the crews applied custom powder-coated, metal-mesh panels with steel-wrapped edging. Enough open panel was left in the ceiling grid for sprinklers to be installed.

The primary challenge on this project was accessing the work area. Escalators stretching above and below the worksite and encasing bridges throughout the station felt like chutes and ladders to the project team. This was overcome by safely securing rolling aluminum scaffolds and cantilevered scaffolding for use by all trades.

Judge’s comment: “The project team’s pre-construction work, along with coordination with all the contractors and interacting with the complex products installed on this project, went a long way in helping to construct an incredible acoustical system.”

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