Amplasament / Location: Washington D. C., SUA / USA Client: District Department of Transportation Suprafaţă / Area: 2000 pp / sf Fotografii / Photo: KGP Design Studio
Union Station is the largest intermodal transportation center in the Washington metropolitan area and the mid-Atlantic region. Located just east of Washington’s central business district and blocks from the U.S. Capitol, Union Station plays a major role in the travel and commuting needs of thousands of residents and visitors to the national capital region from DC, Virginia, Maryland and the entire East Coast.
As a major intermodal complex, Union Station was chosen by the District Department of Transportation as an ideal site to test the viability of the initial Bycicle Transit Center (BTC). Sited between two turn-of-the-century landmarks by architect Daniel Burnham, Union Station and the National Capitol Post Office, the facility is available to thousands of tourists, commuters and neighbors passing through on a daily basis.
The adjacent vehicular and pedestrian circulation placed demands on the footprint of the structure and its location. Occasional bus access to the parking structure to the north required that the site accommodate two north-south access lanes west of the portico as well as the proposed BTC. Just as significant were the approach vistas to Union Station from Massachusetts Ave and Columbus Plaza. The West Portico of the station accommodates major entries to the station as well as containing the Metro entrance and retail functions. Locating the structure to minimize obstruction to these vistas was a priority as was minimizing disruption of the existing uses at the West Portico. Ideally, establishing a comfortable separation between the structures would allow the new facility to complement Union Station while maintaining its integrity.
In order to differentiate the structure from the verticality of Union Station and the monumental arches of the portico, the Transit Center maintains a low gentle profile, “bending” the ground plane to create a shallow vault of glazed arches. Reflecting the structural elegance of a bicycle in the Center’s design posed an ongoing challenge. The BTC solves the challenge of vaulting in a manner similar to a rim and spoke wheel. The length of the structure is spanned by longitudinal steel tube arches. They, in turn, are stabilized by a series of transverse tension members wrapping the vaults and carrying loads to the perimeter slab. The tubing “rim and spoke wheel” approach maximizes lightness and efficiency by responding to specific conditions.
The BTC could be described as something between a canopy and a building. The entire, partially open, structure takes advantage of passive airflow when possible. The temperature of the parking area is typically moderated by passive means, with minimal mechanical ventilation utilized only during seasonal temperature extremes. Because of the more demanding requirements of the retail segment, it is possible to seal the enclosure and mechanically heat or cool the space.
The approximately 1,750 sf. structure is divided into two areas: bicycle parking and retail. The retail area will provide the following services: bicycle rental, repair and retail accessories. The facility will include the following program elements: secure parking for 150 bicycles; non-secure parking for 40 bicycles; short term parking for 10 bicycles; changing room: 50 sf.; 40 short and long term lockers; retail area: 450 sf.; storage: 50 sf.