Washington-based architectural firm KGP Design Studio recently has completed the Bicycle Transit Center (BTC) at Union Station, Washinton DC. It is designed to store 150 bicycles as well as a locker/shower and a repair rental store.
While “differentiating” itself from Union Station itself, the Center does merge with its surroundings adapting the vocabulary of the bronze portals and “colonnades” of lamps on First Street and the building’s periphery. The identification of “separation and differentiation” similarly is a theme that runs throughout the design process as a means of respecting its architectural context and linking to its broader context – providing a state of the art transit facility for Washington of 2005.
KGP Design Studio
+ UPDATE: More information and diagram here
+ Design Approach by KGP Design Studio
The Bicycle Transit Center will be a peripheral extension to Union Station presenting a new choice of transportation options for its users. As such it should be seen as peripheral design component to the station.
An early recognition by all involved recognized the need to separate and differentiate the center from its predecessor in order to maintain the integrity of the historic Union Station and allow the (BTC) to reflect its own needs ultimately better serving the community. While “differentiating” itself from Union Station itself, the Center does merge with its surroundings adapting the vocabulary of the bronze portals and “colonnades” of lamps on First Street and the building’s periphery. The identification of “separation and differentiation” similarly is a theme that runs throughout the design process as a means of respecting its architectural context and linking to its broader context – providing a state of the art transit facility for Washington of 2005.
A number of siting options were studied varying the structures adjacency to the portico and its relationship to the proposed bus lanes.
Approaches emphasizing a “pavilion in the plaza” were preferred. Recalling the original plaza enclosed by the west portico and original vaulted Train Room extension to the north, the arrangement promoted a pedestrian friendly use of the current obsolete asphalt drive and ramp access. By pulling the structure away from the portico, conflicts with the functioning of the West Portico Entry and Metro Entry are avoided.
In order to differentiate the structure from the verticality of the Station and the monumental the large scale arches of the portico, a gentle rising of the ground plan to a shallow vault defines the buildings massing. Inclined glazed surfaces meet the earth rather than “walls” allowing lines of sight to flow over the structure.
This “non-building” without walls and roof, per sec, is transparent and distinctly different than the granite-clad walls of the station. In fact the glazed panels in contrast will be more like a transparent lens allowing the station to be seen through it as one move around the plaza. At the same time it will discretely showcase alternative modes of transit for visitors and commuters.
The BTC could be described as something between a canopy and a building.The entire structure partially open, will take advantage of passive airflow when possible. The temperature of the parking area typically will be moderated by passive means or minimal mechanical ventilation only at seasonal temperature extremes. Because of the more demanding requirements of the retail segment it will be provided the option to close its enclosure and mechanically heart or cool the space.
The design of the building’s skin takes the environmental factors into account. The east and west exposure are differentiated. Like an eye it opens to Union Station with transparent glazing. To the west – the “eye lid” is more opaque and protected. The east orientation has minimal solar exposure, due to the adjacent west portico. It is a series of rotated and warped glazed planes acting as horizontal louvers allowing airflow but protecting from the elements. The west orientation, exposed to direct sun as well as the elements, is a single warped plane. It is open at the top and bottom taking advantage of the chimney effect to promote air movement through the structure. Vertical louvers will help shade the late afternoon sun. Additionally low-E coated single glazing will limit heat gain but allow visibility. Rotating west to east, the coating will progressively lessen in each “louver” allowing full transparency on the east most surfaces.
Hybrid natural and mechanical venting system
To minimize mechanical venting, cooling is accomplished with an staged environmental control system which first uses automated vents maximizing natural convection. If required, fans will provide two air changes per minute equalizing temperatures with the exterior. If further cooling is required in the double glazed retail area, the automated vents will close sealing the retail area for effective mechanical cooling. In winter the automated vents will close to take advantage of solar heating as is required.
Double Glazed, Low-e, and Ceramic Fritted Glass
Solar heat gain will provide benefits as well as a challenge for maintaining a comfortable environment. Ceramic frit as well as a low-e film will allow for a reasonable balance between solar and visible light. Double layered ceramic frit oriented to minimize the high midday solar gain, while allowing horizontal visibility, helps to maintain a reasonable amount of transparency at the pedestrian level.
Rainwater used for Irrigation
A portion of the runoff from both the Bike Station as well as the plaza will be channeled to the planters for use as irrigation and the bio-retentive qualities of the planting beds.