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Amtrak and HOK unveils design for new Washington Union Station

View from H Street - Courtesy of HOK
View from H Street - Courtesy of HOK

A national landmark and one of the busiest multimodal transportation hubs in the country, Washington Union Station, designed by Daniel Burnham, is about to undergo some significant changes. The 1907 station is currently operating beyond capacity, serving 100,000 passenger trips per day on Amtrak and commuter trains, Metrorail and buses. Over the next 15 to 20 years, passengers are expected to triple and the number of trains will double, so change is necessary in order to accommodate this growth. HOK, in collaboration with Amtrak and Parsons Brinckerhoff, have unveiled a plan to revitalize the station and bring it up to 21st century standards. Continue after the break for more.

The plan positions Union Station as an integral part of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor investment plan by upgrading it to accommodate additional level of tracks, platforms and concourses below the existing track level. These changes will support increasing commuter and intercity rail service with room for future expansion of high-performance, high-speed rail.

Existing Washington Union Station © beautifulcataya
Existing Washington Union Station © beautifulcataya

At the heart of the plan is a new train shed that will welcome passengers to the nation’s capital. HOK’s design brings natural light into the station and creates better connections to Amtrak, commuter rail, transit and other transportation services. The design integrates new passenger concourses with significant retail and passenger amenities and a series of new street entrances. Meanwhile, a planted, vegetated roof retains rainwater and tempers the interior environment.

Interior view of Train Shed - Courtesy of HOK
Interior view of Train Shed - Courtesy of HOK

“We wanted to design a train shed that supports movement and a vegetated roof visible from the street. The undulating green rooftops of the entrance recall the individual tracks below and dispel the impression that the north entrance is a back door,” said Bill Hellmuth, AIA, HOK’s DC-based president and design leader for the project. “The overall design underscores the inherent sustainability of mass transit.”

Train Shed looking Southwest - Courtesy of HOK
Train Shed looking Southwest - Courtesy of HOK

Based on the master plan’s framework for phased construction over 15 to 20 years, the estimated cost for the station reconstruction and terminal capacity expansion ranges from $6.5 to $7.5 billion in 2012 dollars. It is estimated to generate a total of $14.3 billion ($2012) in regional economic benefit through direct construction expenditures and other related economic impact.

Central Concourse - Courtesy of HOK
Central Concourse - Courtesy of HOK

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure the long-range transportation and economic future of the Washington region and the Northeast mega-region by equipping Union Station for its second century of outstanding service to the traveling public,” said Wayne Striker, AIA, a principal in HOK’s New York office. “By creating station and commercial development that is integrated with the surrounding neighborhoods and well-connected to the multimodal regional transportation system, Union Station will become an even greater regional destination.” Reference: HOK, Amtrak Washington Union Station images via Flickr users beautifulcataya and Ryan Keene, licensed through Creative Commons.

Escalators down to the Central Concourse - Courtesy of HOK
Escalators down to the Central Concourse - Courtesy of HOK
Cite:Karissa Rosenfield. "Amtrak and HOK unveils design for new Washington Union Station " 16 Aug 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/264143/amtrak-and-hok-unveils-design-for-new-washington-union-station/>