Guangzhou Yangtian Electric Substation 220-kV
Guangzhou, China


Architectural Design


Industrial Park substation, Cultural transformation project


Guangzhou Municipal Planning and Natural Resources Bureau, Guangzhou Power Supply Bureau of Guangdong Power Grid Company Limited


14,600 m2


The project is located in Huangpu District, Guangzhou, which has been the gateway to South China since ancient times and boasts rich cultural heritage and historical relics. This substation competition is intended to resolve the problem of municipal public facilities through landscape and function enhancement, promoting their integration into the development of the urban landscape.

Our task was to make these pieces of essential infrastructure a part of their neighbourhoods. Integrating them not only into the physical urban context but also into the social fabric. Our strategy was to capture some of the qualities of the tiny, abandoned village. We are building on that local material palette to create a series of layered walls that allow the substation to sit harmoniously within the surrounding natural and built environment.


Inspired by a phoenix’s rebirth, the new substation uses traditional local building materials to gradually emerge from the surrounding landscape like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Benoy used cladding boards to create a three-dimensional effect like a phoenix’s feathers, conveying a subtle and serene beauty in the change of light and shadow.

Since this was a cultural renovation project that needed to reflect historic local heritage and architectural features, Benoy used broken bricks from old houses as aggregates for the concrete structure, creating a terracotta-like surface and a historical texture. Likewise, the walls of the different parts of the substation are made from traditional local building materials with a highly distinctive look: the retaining walls are decorated with paint, broken-brick aggregate concrete is used for the non-load bearing wall, and exposed concrete is used for the substation walls.

Benoy’s design shatters the stereotype of the electrical substation, transforming it from an unwelcome urban presence into a public space that actively gives back to the community. The substation becomes a landmark building, while also providing residents with a back garden that is open to all. By giving the substation human value, contemporary energy and an updated look, as well as turning it into a popular place for community activities, Benoy has changed the design concept of conventional substations, bringing even more innovation and inspiration to the future design of public utilities.


The project is under construction.

Return to Our work