The new Washington Union Station

Wednesday 15 Aug 2012

Amtrak has announced design which will transform Washington's Union Station into key transportation hub

Amtrak has recently released a master plan which they have developed with HOK and Parsons Brinckerhoff, to revitalise the Washington Union Station. An inter-modal centre with increased capacity and renewed commercial activity will be constructed with the help of developer Akridge, and several regional transportation agencies.

Designed by Daniel Burnham, the Union Station opened in 1907 as one of the world's leading passenger rail facilities and is now one of the country's busiest multi-modal transportation hubs. It currently operates beyond capacity, serving 100,000 passenger trips per day on Amtrak and commuter trains, Metrorail and buses. The Amtrak master plan will redevelop the historic station by tackling this primary issue and hopes to triple passenger capacity, doubling the number of trains the station can operate at any given time.

The plan positions Union Station as an integral part of Amtrak's north-east Corridor investment plan by upgrading it to accommodate more tracks, platforms and concourses below the existing track level. These changes will support the increasing levels of commuters with room for future expansion of high-performance, high-speed rail. A new train shed will welcome passengers to the nation’s capital. HOK's design will bring natural light into the station, and will create better connections to Amtrak, commuter rail, transit and other transportation services. A planted, vegetative roof retains rainwater and tempers the interior environment.

Bill Hellmuth, AIA, HOK's DC- based president and design leader for the project said that, “We wanted to design a train shed that supports movement and a vegetated roof visible from the street. The undulating green rooftops of the entrance recall the individual tracks below and dispel the impression that the north entrance is a back door. The overall design underscores the inherent sustainability of mass transit.”

The framework for construction is 15 to 20 years, and the estimated cost ranges from $6.5 to $7.5 billion in 2012 dollars. It is estimated to generate a total of $14.3 billion ($2012) in regional economic benefit through direct construction expenditures and other related economic impact.

"We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the long-range transportation and economic future of the Washington region and the North-east mega-region by equipping Union Station for its second century of outstanding service to the travelling public," said Wayne Striker, AIA, a principal in HOK's New York office. "By creating station and commercial development that is integrated with the surrounding neighbourhoods and well-connected to the multi-modal regional transportation system, Union Station will become an even greater regional destination."

The firm is currently teaming with Parsons Brinckerhoff on the design of phase one of the 66,000 sq-ft plan. Anaheim Regional Transportation Inter-modal Centre (ARTIC) in Anaheim, California. Other HOK infrastructure projects include Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 Automated People Mover and Rail Station in London and Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport Automated People Mover in Phoenix, Arizona.

Founded in 1955, HOK were ranked as #1 role model for sustainable and high-performance design for the third consecutive year by Design Intelligence.


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