In conjunction with designers FXFOWLE, !melk, and Arup, Amtrak announced last week that it had chosen a final preferred concept for the plaza surrounding Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. In the 107-page proposal, Amtrak called the area around the station a “sea of driveways,” and laid out steps the company was taking to modernize the transportation hub. Following up on an earlier call for input that Amtrak had put out in July, the final proposal comes after months of town hall meetings with Philadelphia residents. The new 30th Street Station will anchor the $6.5 billion 30th Street Station District Plan, an 18-million-square-foot, 35-year redevelopment of University City, the riverfront neighborhood surrounding Drexel, the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Medicine, and several other higher education institutions. 30th Street Station itself is only one piece of the puzzle, with other teams planning concurrent schemes for separate parcels, including SHoP Architects' and Netherlands-based landscape architects West 8’s Schuylkill Yards project. With an estimated 11 million riders passing through every year, and with Amtrak expecting that number to double by the time the 30th Street Station District Plan wraps up, any tweaks to the current station have to accommodate that increase. Besides serving Amtrak trains, 30th Street Station is the heart of Philadelphia’s regional SEPTA rail, and the new proposal better integrates the two disparate systems. A new ground-level entryway to the West Underground Concourse on the plaza was revealed, creating an underground connection to the SEPTA subway and trolley station. One of the biggest concerns that Amtrak has tried to address is how isolated the station is from the street. While 40 percent of the surveyed area around the station was classified as pedestrian-friendly, not all of it is connected to anything else or intuitive to navigate. Creating several pedestrian-only zones, the new proposal calls for the installation of rounded benches, planters and fountains designed to subtly delineate between plaza and parking lot. The west portico and southwest section of the plaza will also be converted into car-free green spaces. One minor change that should make a huge difference in the traffic patterns around the station is the creation of a distinct taxi pick-up zone at the east portico near the train platforms, and a drop-off zone on the west side. A 220-unit bike station will also be coming to the site, complete with lockers and bicycle rentals. Amtrak is currently searching for a “master developer” to actualize their proposal, with construction slated to begin in 2020 and finish sometime between 2025 and 2030. Read the full proposal here.
Posts tagged with "!Melk":
As part of Philadelphia’s massive downtown redevelopment efforts, new plans were released on Tuesday for an integrated civic space surrounding 30th Street Station—the third-busiest Amtrak station in the country—by a design team including FXFOWLE, !melk, and ARUP. Over the next three decades, the station’s traffic is expected to double, according to a marketing brochure for the overall project, bringing renewed interest to the surrounding business district dubbed University City. This 30th Street Station Plaza revamp is part of a wider, $6.5 billion 30th Street Station District Plan being led by Amtrak in partnership with Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University, PennDOT and SEPTA. Back in 2016, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), in association with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN, and HR&A Advisors, completed the initial design of the District Plan. In parallel, SHoP and West 8 have been working with Drexel and Brandywine on the Schuylkill Yards project, a 14-acre redevelopment which makes way for a 627,000-square-foot office tower as well as the redesign of public commons and arterials that tie together the district’s core: Market Street, J.F.K. Boulevard, and Drexel Square. Station Plaza, with its team of FXFOWLE, !melk, and ARUP, is one of several other early-phase District Plan projects advancing simultaneously. While 30th Street Station is currently surrounded by a closed ring of parking lots and concrete infrastructure, FXFOWLE and partners are looking to install a public plaza encircling the building. Their plan incorporates raised planters, pedestrian byways, seating areas, a public pavilion, and a food truck area. Pavers in the shape of concentric dots correspond to below-ground train routes and mirror the circular fountains and skylights incorporated into surrounding green space. According to the plan, the taxi and automotive area—which utilizes about 50% of the space at present—will be relocated to a transportation zone at one side of the station, opening up the decongested space to foot circulation and flexible programming. In addition to increased pedestrian traffic, this move will also allow room for a new underground entrance at the West Portico; the entrance is an unbuilt feature of the station’s original 1934 plans. The plan, in its entirety, is designed to decongest the area around the station and reinvigorate a historic railway, connecting it to other developments in the comprehensive plan and the adjacent Schuylkill River. Amtrak and the project’s team have opened up the renderings (viewable here) for public comment via an online survey (accessible here). Garnering opinions from commuters, visitors and locals alike, the survey will be open until 8 pm on Wednesday, July 26, 2017.
In October, Pershing Square Renew selected 10 teams as semi-finalists for the redesign of Downtown Los Angeles’ oft-maligned urban space. The international design competition drew hundreds of entries and the two-handfuls selected represent both local and global practices. Reviewing the initial presentation boards, there’s common interest in opening up Pershing Square to the surrounding urban blocks, a porosity currently lacking in Legoretta’s scheme. The teams’ approaches are split between active and passive landscapes with some concepts showing large lawns and water features meant for calm reflection and light recreation, others packed the square with programming: dog parks, cafes, yoga zones, performance venues, etc. Pershing Square Renew posed the concept boards on their website and are now asking the Los Angeles community to weigh in with comments for the jury. Soon, the organization will select four top teams out of the field of semi-finalists and have them each develop a more comprehensive final design. Until then, have a gander at the boards below.
A shortlist was announced for the Pershing Square Renew competition. Ten teams were selected to have a chance at a crack at redoing Ricardo Legorreta's scheme. The five-acre park is seen as the centerpiece of a revitalized Downtown Los Angeles and the competition, a public-private partnership backed by councilmember José Huizar, is a critical step toward that effort. The ten semi-finalists are global, national, and local—and often in combination. They include: Paris-based Agence Ter with SALT Landscape Architects, Snohetta, James Corner Field Operations and Frederick Fisher and Partners, New York-based W Architecture, San Francisco-based PWP Landscape Architecture with Allied Works Architecture, Mia Lehrer Associates with NYC’s !Melk, Peterson Studio + BNIM, Rios Clementi Hale with OMA, SWA with Morphosis, and wHY Architecture These teams will continue to develop designs, which will be reviewed later this fall and a group of four finalists will be announced in December. Pershing Square Renew will select a winner in February 2016. On bets as to who might emerge from the pack, it seems that the organization is looking for details over gesture. “Their challenge isn’t to win awards; it’s to win over hearts,” said executive director Eduardo Santana. “More than anything else, these groups need to focus on the experiences their design will inspire and the memories the Square will create.”