Last March, the Port Authority launched a design competition to reimagine its aging and highly-criticized bus terminal on 42nd Street. The competition was in response to the approval of $10 billion in funds earmarked for the massive redesign or complete replacement of the crumbling 66-year-old structure. Now, five renderings have been shortlisted that could transform the bus terminal into a modern transportation hub capable of meeting the demands of hundreds of thousands of daily commuters.
For years, the Midtown Manhattan building has been criticized for its bad lighting, inefficient design, and overall dankness. Along with a complete overhaul of the current building’s flaws, the new structure will have to address an increasing number of commuters. It’s estimated that some 232,000 customers currently use the Port Authority Bus Terminal on a daily basis, but that number is expected to grow to 337,000 by 2040. Therefore, not only will the new design have to accommodate the increase in commuters, but will also have to make room for over 1,000 more buses.
All of the renderings in the competition show a new contemporary structure filled with natural light, efficient use of space, and various sustainability features. Most of the designs also focus on not only the transport function of the terminal, but also take into consideration the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods.
Arcadis of New York, Inc.‘s design shows a light-filled “epicenter of urban life and a catalyst for future development.” Their plan calls for a new 4-million-square-foot terminal that would connect the 7-train stop at Tenth Avenue, with a pedestrian path over Dyer Avenue leading to the Eighth Avenue lines. The ambitious proposal envisions buses having direct access to the terminal from the Lincoln Tunnel, something that would avoid street congestion.
Archilier Architecture‘s Consortium design focuses on creating New York’s “Next Great Place” that would connect the historic Hell’s Kitchen district with the emerging Hudson Yards development. The design also includes a 9.8-acre rooftop park, as well as a 525,000 square feet of “photolytic pre-cast concrete façade panels actually capture airborne pollution to be harmlessly washed away in the rain.”
The Hudson Terminal Center Collaborative suggests putting the entire bus terminal underground and leaving the old terminal up for new development. The plan is one of the most economical as it is based on funding the underground construction by opening up air rights to the future commercial development options once the existing terminal is demolished.
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects’ design, Times Square West, creates a new district connecting the Hudson Yards development with the iconic Times Square area. This plan would remove commuter buses from the streets in order to alleviate the congestion, noise, and air pollution associated with the Lincoln Tunnel.
Perkins Eastman‘s “Covergence” design seeks to move the terminal to the lower level of the Jacob K. Javits Center and integrate the terminal with new Number 7 Hudson Yards station. It would also remove all bus and truck access from the local street network to allow for better traffic flow of cars and pedestrians around the station. The design would also integrate resilient transit infrastructure in a new public waterfront park.
Although the five renderings are seemingly all contenders, according to Port Chairman John Degnan, there is no clear frontrunner yet. “My instinct is that no one of them is going to emerge … as the final concept. There may be ideas in each of them.”
Images via PABT Competition