John W. Olver Transit Center / Charles Rose Architects

© Peter Vanderwarker

Architects: Charles Rose Architects
Location: , MA, USA
Project Year: 2012
Project Area: 24,000 sqm
Photographs: Peter Vanderwarker

The John W. Olver Transit Center is designed to generate through renewable sources all the energy that it uses, meaning its net-energy consumption over the course of a year will be zero. At its core, the building contains a number of seemingly contradictory impulses.

© Peter Vanderwarker

was mindful of citizens’ desires for a building that linked to Greenfield’s history and was a highly innovative carbon-neutral building, which our ARRA stimulus funding allowed us to do. The materials we chose for the exterior—brick, copper and locally sourced stone—are a respectful nod to the downtown business district and its stately dark-brick buildings.

© Peter Vanderwarker

Yet the transit center represents a radical departure from those energy-guzzling structures, anticipating the future and President Obama’s executive order requiring that all new federal buildings achieve net-zero by 2030. The dark brick cladding the western side may pay homage to Greenfield’s past, but its main purpose is green: a high-tech strategy in managing the building’s exposure to afternoon sun. In parts, the brick dissolves and the façade becomes a kind of skein; these patterns are computer-generated and control the amount of heat entering the building’s interior in summer and winter.

© Peter Vanderwarker

And while brick and stone imbue the center with a rooted-in-place quality, the building’s form conveys a sense of fluidity—a visual cue of the building’s purpose. Our design bends the building toward the northern end, which gives the center a sense of motion or perhaps a current running through the structure. If successful, it will generate currents of change: local officials are looking to the transit center to spark downtown revitalization and sustainable development.

First Floor Plan

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "John W. Olver Transit Center / Charles Rose Architects" 13 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 16 Sep 2014. <>

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