Transbay Transit Terminal / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

’s newest transit hub will centralize all the transportation in the city by accomodating nine systems under one roof.   Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects have designed a new terminal, a 1.3 mile extension of the Caltrain rail line, and the redevelopment of the surrounding area which will add 2,600 new homes, a 5.4 acre park roof and a retail street.  And a loan of over $170 million given by the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act has given the project an extra push foward.   Once completed in 2014, the terminal will include wind turbines, geothermal heating methods and a graywater recycling system.  The hub will be a strong message that green technology can successfully be combined with modern transportation.  “We are thrilled to be one of the first modern rail stations in the United States to achieve this historic milestone and look forward to continuing to make progress on the Transbay Project,” explained Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, Executive Director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA).

More images and a video of the project after the break.

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As seen on World Architecture News

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Transbay Transit Terminal / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects" 31 Jan 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • Michael

    Does anyone find it ironic that the name used for the high speed train system is called FLY California?

  • JLBR21

    mmmmh, I guess, however, I picture the high speed train literally floating on the rails, I mean, aren’t those high speed trains achieving such velocity that at some point they are almost taking off and nearly floating, sliding, hovering millimeters above the rails?

  • xirclebox

    nice design –> Transbay Transit Terminal / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (via feedly)

  • efromist

    Nice project, nice visualization but the crampy spaces between the one and the existing building blocks… mm I think that should be taken into consideration as much as the palm trees.

    I personally don’t like those buildings which provide ‘living’ spaces by actually partly replacing other ‘living’ spaces.

    three steps above the city is a limited solution, doesn’t blend in very well.

    [p.s. of course a little bit jealous about the scale commission they got.:)]

  • Chas

    I really like this. What I really like is that the green roof is a huge part of the design and the architects really thought about the opportunity that it provides to turn the roof into a roof top park complete with an incline train to get you up there.
    I wish that some of that park would happen down at street level to enhance the sidewalk zone but otherwise I really like this design.

    • Michael

      I’m guessing since the state is already under a tight fiscal vice right now, the incline train will probably be one of the first things to be eliminated in the design revisions. However, it is a sweet idea. How it would handle the influx of people that want to move up to the elevated urban park space is beyond me

  • Tomer

    Don’t get me wrong – I love mass transportation – clean energy high speed trains is one of the best investments we could make at this point of time. I also love integrated landscapes and spaces, with full public access. These two things will make the project valuable. Yet – it’s hard to think of a poorer way to compose it:

    Yes, am disturbing this corporate flavored ‘we’re all green’ online promotion party: I see this project’s images as a true disappointment, with the developers, the architects that accepted their program without challenging it, along with the city planning / mayor’s office – as the various players in this failure.

    My points:

    1. Form: this project makes the naïve, ridiculous projects from dubai and shanghai look sophisticated. this is a conservative, wanna be 19th century Europe in disguise of 21st century building systems; I don’t’ remember seeing such a mish-mash of recognized past projects parts before; (yes, one may picture Britney Spears singing Bob Dylan with the Philharmonic orchestra).
    San Francisco lost its lead 50 years ago to Los Angeles, its braver, bold Californian sister for a this reason.

    2. Urban use/scale: this project will replicate the urban voids created around moscone conventions center, Bloomingdales, etc. with it’s ‘fancy’, repetitive huge and sterile (nothing can be changed / added) glazing systems, highly non-responsive to the street nuances along the block, and urban context. The proposed envelope is framing long vacant blocks that belong to (drive by) airports or shopping malls, not a vibrant urban center in a pedestrian city like san Francisco. This could be amended by allowing small, independent structures to form the outer tissue of this gigantic transportation center, will do better to both the city and the passengers. But hey – who needs the headache and financial complexity of creating good urban development (i.e. Amsterdam’s Borneo Island small lots as the large complexes facades) – we’ll just shove it down your throat, you’ll get use to it / ignore it. a much simpler façade system will save money and allow various infills to take part of this major space along the next generations.

    Unfortunately, this is not the first time San Francisco developers are following the corporate lame tone, instead of creating new, unique urban development models, failing to incorporate the diverse, nonconventional local values.

  • christian

    nice picture

  • Steve

    I wish there are more developed sectional diagrams/renderings published by TJPA and more architectural (DD level) sections later from the architect. Those may respond to Tomer and most people’s questions better.

    One thing I noticed though, the level below the “park” is for buses (driveway and waiting). That level is cantilevering out and the weight of the park and the bus levels are transferring to the ground by slanted tubular columns.

    Also, These posted images seem to be two versions (from competition and later development, maybe)of design. A bit confusing to show the overall image of the center.

  • carolin
  • Nicholas Patten

    Nicely Designed: Transbay Transit Terminal.

  • Mxolisi Mkhonza

    RT @NicholasPatten: Nicely Designed: Transbay Transit Terminal.

  • Tiago

    #Arquitetura – Transbay Transit Terminal / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects #architecture

  • Xavier Huber

    STUTTGART 21 – San Francisco Style #Transbay

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  • daniella molina

    Reading: "Transbay Transit Terminal / Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects | ArchDaily"( )

  • HashBrown

    Just one question please… how do the buses get in and out of the center? is it only through the bay bridge exit, or there are also ramps going up from the adjacent streets?

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