HOK’s ARTIC, Anaheim's high speed rail train station which AN featured today, is as much a story about technology and engineering as it is about high design. Slated to achieve a LEED Platinum rating, ARTIC is the product of an integrated, multidisciplinary BIM design process where key decisions about technology and engineering were brought into the design process from the beginning to achieve a high-tech, high-performance, and high-efficiency building. The building’s curved diagrid geometry, rationalized using CATIA, is like a contemporary reboot of the glass and steel structures that defined iconic terminals like Philadelphia’s Broad Street Station and New York City’s original Penn Station. The parabolic shell design was also utilized for its structural efficiency and for its environmental properties. For efficiency, the design team decided to go with ultra-lightweight ETFE pillows (1/100th the weight of glass). This allowed for significant reductions in foundation size and structural member dimensions. ARTIC is currently the largest ETFE-clad building in North America, with over 200,000 square feet of the high-tech material covering most of the building’s long-span shell. The ETFE system also helps to regulate heat gain and maximize daylighting while maintaining an environment that utilizes a mixed mode natural ventilation system. The building’s shape and translucent ETFE envelope work in concert with a radiant heating and cooling slab system in the public areas (optimized HVAC is used in office and retail spaces) to produce a microclimate through convection currents. This makes it possible for the building to be naturally ventilated most of the time. Heat rises and escapes through operable louvers at the top portions of the north and south curtain walls.
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California breaks ground on High Speed Rail system that will one day connect Sacramento with San Diego
It's not often that the eyes of the country are fixed on Fresno. But this week, after years of fights and dozens of lawsuits, California's $68 billion High Speed Rail system is finally breaking ground there. The system, funded largely by state and federal money (much of that is still pending), is expected to eventually extend 800 miles from Sacramento to San Diego and include 24 stations. A route from San Francisco to Los Angeles is expected by 2029. The first stretch of the electric bullet train initiative, between Fresno and Bakersfield, will be built by Dragados/Flatiron/Shimmick. Construction is beginning in the Central Valley, say officials from the California High Speed Rail Authority, to lower costs, speed construction, and get access to more federal funds. They noted that the plan will add a much-needed economic boost to the emerging area's long-struggling cities, like Fresno, Bakersfield, and Merced. The second phase of construction will connect the Central Valley to the San Fernando Valley, the third will connect the Central Valley to San Jose, the fourth will connect the San Fernando Valley with Los Angeles and Anaheim, and the fifth will complete the connection from Sacramento to San Diego. New stations are moving ahead, some faster than others. Anaheim just opened HOK and Buro Happold's ARTIC Station, Los Angeles is beginning radical changes to Union Station designed by Grimshaw and Gruen, and San Francisco is building perhaps the most ambitious of them all, Cesar Pelli's Transbay Center. Even Fresno is getting in on the act, hiring AECOM to study a station there. Besides needing billions more dollars, the High Speed Rail Authority still has to condemn thousands of acres of land before this all becomes reality.
On Monday, the city of Anaheim cut the ribbon on one of the most important transit stations in California history: ARTIC, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center. The multi-modal building, designed by HOK with engineering by Thornton Tomasetti and Buro Happold, contains facilities for regional rail, bus, automobile, and even bicycles, not to mention shops and restaurants. And if all goes according to plan, it will eventually be the southern terminus for the state's High Speed Rail system. The wide-open, multi-level structure, which looks out at Anaheim's Honda Center and the surrounding mountains, is topped with a glowing, diamond-gridded ETFE roof and fronted by two of the largest self-supporting curtain walls in the world. Check back for a full critique of the LEED Platinum project in AN's next West issue. But for now enjoy some early shots from the opening day. We're impressed that it still looks a lot like the renderings.
Despite ongoing delays, lawsuits, and government holdups, it appears that California's High Speed Rail (HSR) plans (and their associated stations) are ready to move ahead. Last week the United States Department of Transportation issued a "Record of Decision" for HSR's initial 114-mile section from Fresno to Bakersfield. The decision, "represents a major step forward, both for the State of California and for High Performance rail in the U.S," Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in a statement. On the state level California governor Jerry Brown earlier this month managed to secure $250 million for the project from the state's yearly cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emissions fund. That number could total $3 billion to $5 billion in coming years. The total amount of track built in the network will measure over 800 miles. But the estimated $68 billion project is still short of the federal funding it needs, and there are a number of significant obstacles left. According to the Contra Costa Times, a Sacramento judge has blocked, pending appeal, the $8.6 billion in state bond funds owed to the project. The state also owes the federal government $160 million in order to receive $3.5 billion in matching funds, and the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to block funds to the project as part of the federal transportation bill. Although that vote is anticipated to be overturned by the Democratic Senate. Still, California's HSR stations continue to move ahead, regardless of whether the tracks ever get built. Grimshaw and Gruen's plans to transform Union Station in Los Angeles just passed another benchmark, Pelli Clarke Pelli's San Francisco's Transbay Center is moving ahead as well, although perhaps without its signature rooftop park. And the furthest along is Anaheim's ETFE-topped ARTIC station, designed by HOK and Buro Happold. The multimodal facility combining bus, rail, high speed rail, shuttles, and more—is scheduled to be finished late this year. All of these stations will serve multiple transit functions, even if HSR never happens. But it sure would be a waste if that came to pass.