Eye candy of the week

By Amanda Harrell-Seyburn

Property: BWL pump station, South Pennsylvania Avenue

Owner: Lansing Board of Water & Light

It’s super cool that Lansing has its own publicly owned municipal utility in the Lansing Board of Water & Light. But what really ups the cool quotient of the BWL is its buildings.

From the John Dye Water Conditioning Plant to the new cogeneration power plant under construction in REO Town, architecture matters to the BWL. The aesthetic contribution isn’t just to these high profile cathedrals of power, but is evident down to the smallest of structures, like this one on South Pennsylvania at the entry to the BWL Hazel/Penn Construction Complex.

Ever wondered about the purpose of this remarkable and wonderful building? How about its twin two blocks north on the east side of Pennsylvania? You are in good company with the thousands of others who have marveled at this diminutive, early-20th century masonry building topped with a fluted slate tiled roof and leaded glass windows. Mystery solved: it’s a BWL pump station.

Small structures like these are an integral part of the urban fabric and deserve as much attention as large structures. This structure is everything that makes a small civic building perfect — stoic with a bit of whimsy. Check out the Gothic arch dormer — that’s attention to detail. Few cities are as fortunate as Lansing to have the care and attention given to even its smallest of structures.

As we embrace alternative forms of energy, it is important to remember that the form is as important as the function. Preserve the past and look to the future with architecture that enhances civic pride.