Work on the extension of the Spadina subway line from its current terminus at Downsview as far as Vaughan's City Centre by Highway 7 and Jane Street is underway, with the opening of the line targeted for late 2015. In the fall of 2009 we had one design chosen for Steeles West Station, but as of February 2011, we have a new one to consider. Let's start with a view of the new plan for the main entrance.

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.New plan for the Steeles Avenue Station entrance.

This was the original plan for the station:

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.Original plan for the Steeles Avenue Station.

Very, very different, right? Why? Well, between the first plan and this version, the location of facilities on the north side of Steeles had to be rethought, as property negotiations with landowners ended up with a different plot of land being carved out for the station. On the south side of Steeles, changes to the planned road network were made to improve bus operations, and more thought was given to barrier free access from ground level through to the subway platform. For those reasons and others, an entire rethink of the project came about. The new plan remains in the hands of Stevens Group Architects working with Will Alsop. Alsop, of course, is famous for OCADU's tabletop design Sharp Centre beside the AGO. Let's start with the big picture, and then move in. First, a quick reminder of where Steeles West is within the scheme of the entire extension.

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.The subway route map.

We drill down and see the overall site plan.

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.Local site plan, with underground detail.

Now we center on the intersection of Steeles and the Northwest Gate to York U. The main entrance to the station has been moved to the York Region side of Steeles, closer to the commuter parking lot.

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.Local site plan, with underground detail.

Here's the full view of the main entrance. Corten steel wraps the building in a warm patina of precision-rusted steel. Hints of the York Region Transit Bus Terminal can be seen in the background.

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.The new Steeles Ave Station plan.

Here's what the inside of the entrance pavilion looks like: more Corten steel, with colour-matched porcelain in the "touch zone".

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.The station interior.

Here's the longitudinal section of the station, with the main entrance to the left. Note the U-shaped ceiling of the interior space: it is meant to bring natural light as far as possible into the platform areas.

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.Cross-section of the Station with underground detail.

We'll head straight through for a look at the TTC Bus Terminal at the southeast end of the station. First, the plan from above:

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.Aerial view of the bus terminal at Steeles Ave Station.

And the entrance, as approached from York U:

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.The view of the terminal as approached from York U.

Inside the terminal:

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.Interior of the bus terminal area.

Let's go down to platform level now:

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.Interior of the subway platform.

Look up, and you will notice the public art component of the station. It is called Lightspell, and it is by realities: united, a Berlin-based art studio helmed by brothers Jan and Tim Edler. Lightspell is an array of 62 light elements which will function as both artwork, and lighting for the station. Each array is capable of displaying all letters, numbers, and many special characters. As different characters require a different number of luminaries to be lit, the individual luminaries will have their brightness adjusted so that a consistent lighting level is maintained at platform level.

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.Public art and platform lighting by realities: united.

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.Perspective view of the public art/platform lighting.

Steeles West Subway Station is part of the Spadina Subway Extension project.One of the many images which will be displayed.

All images courtesy of the TTC It's all quite an ambitious and eye-catching plan, and it has an estimated cost to build of $159 million. Funding for the extension is secured. Of note: Steeles West station's location, at the north end of the York University campus, puts it close to the Rexall Centre, which will play host to tennis events during the 2015 Pan American games. It is unclear whether the extension can open in time for the games in July of that year. A public open house will be held in March to take comments on the station design, finishes, and artwork. If you want to a bigger view of these images, and full text describing the project, the TTC's report can be found here. What do you think? Please leave a comment below, or join in the discussion at the Spadina Line Extension Thread by clicking on the link below.