Construction on San Francisco's new Transbay Transit Center and rooftop city park is currently underway, but some major changes are afoot. Rather than the see-though, sinuous glass facade, the Pelli Clarke Pelli-designed complex will now be clad in perforated aluminum. Shedding the glass facade in favor of aluminum is expected to save the project around $10 million and also make it safer in case of a terrorist attack. The architects ensure the altered exterior will still maintain its transparency and energy efficient strategy for this high speed rail station and urban park.
We’re still about 4 years away from the completion of the Transbay Transit Center, a 1.5 million-square-foot facility that will serve as the terminus for this high speed rail line in California. Stretched along Mission Street for 5 blocks, the center will have a structural steel skeleton and an undulating transparent wall along the sides. It was originally planned to clad the exterior with fritted glass, but it is now expected to be clad in perforated aluminum. Regardless of the material upgrade, the overall effect of transparency should be the same. Fred Clarke of the firm Pelli Clarke Pelli told the San Francisco Chronicle, “This is a dramatic change in material, but the philosophical change is not enormous. I think it is equally handsome.” The project is expected to save $10 million.
Topping off the transit center will still be a beautiful 5.4 acre urban park filled with trees, flowers, paths, event space and cafes, which is designed by PWP Landscape Architecture. The park will feature both active and passive areas, meandering paths, and mounded hills to create a varied landscape. Skylights throughout the park will fill the terminal below with natural daylight. PWP is also working with environmental artist Ned Kahn to create a 1,200-foot-long Bus Jet Fountain, which is a sensor-triggered feature that sets off jets when busses move through the terminal. Wetlands, greywater and rainwater collection are all part of the sustainable strategies for park.
Images ©Transbay Joint Powers Authority