Crosstown Substation Renovation for the KCP&L

The architects at Pendulum developed a synthesizing design which combines elements of public art, architecture, and kinetic motion-based visual arts to create a low-profile barrier wall wrapping the KCP&L Substation.

Prior to the new design, the corner of 18th and Locust was deteriorating. Kansas City's public art commission stepped in to upgrade the existing wall by opening up a competition for proposals that would reflect the artistic community of Kansas City.

The winning design by Pendulum included a space for the light artist James Woodfill to create a kinetic display. As the sun sets, an animated display of lights takes over: 10,500 color-changing LED lights alternate to create an illusion of motion, powered by 117 solar panels.

Crosstown station solanum steel
Photograph of the Crosstown Substation west facade at dusk.
Crosstown station weathering steel
Crosstown Substation designed by Pendulum, featuring Solanum weathering steel metalwork.
Jim woodfill lights pendulum project left
Custom cylinder sidewalk lights cast unique shadows through perforations.
Jim woodfill lights pendulum project right
Custom cylinder sidewalk lights cast unique shadows through perforations.
Crosstown substation solanum steel
Crosstown Substation designed by Pendulum, featuring Solanum weathering steel metalwork.
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The Crosstown Substation, featuring a prepatinated weathering steel custom wall system.
Crosstown station red weathering steel
Photograph of the Crosstown Substation west facade at dusk.
Crosstown solanum steel
Detail of the Crosstown Substation during daylight.

Manufacturing the Weathering Steel Facade for Pendulum Architects

Zahner was brought on to provide a weathering steel surface that would endure all four seasons in Kansas City, as well as provide a worn steel aeshtetic with minimal corrosion and staining of adjacent surfaces. Using the Solanum Steel process, Zahner was able to provide a warm steel patina. Zahner also worked closely with the project team to provide all structural steel and fabrication required for the project.

Crosstown station rendering
Rendering of Crosstown Substation, designed by Pendulum Architects in Kansas City.
Crosstown station mockup pendulum
Mockup of Crosstown Substation, installed on-site at the previous park.
James woodfill night photos
Crosstown Substation at night.
Jim woodfill light sculpture
Crosstown Substation at night.

History of the Crosstown Substation

Originally the KCP&L station was the site of the Holmes Square Park. Designed by George Kessler, the park was originally opened in 1897, the same year A. Zahner Company was founded by Andrew Zahner. The park was directed by Elenore Canny, who was sworn in by the Kansas City Police Department in 1910, becoming the first woman to serve and protect as a police officer in Kansas City, Missouri, and also one of the first female police officers in America.

KCP&L has decided to place a plaque on the gate of the substation commemorating the Holmes Square Park and the accomplishments of Elenor Canny. The material and construction of the plaque was generously donated by A. Zahner Company.

Crosstown substation plaque for first woman police officer

Project Team

Awards and Recognition

  • 2014 EDC Cornerstone Award Winner for Energy
  • 2014 Kansas City Chapter AGC Building Excellence Award