Today, the six teams in the running to design the big Union Station Master Plan presented Vision Boards showing their wildest ideas for what the area could look like in 2050. The "high-concept" Vision Boards are really just a fun, excitement-building exercise (one that some firms bristled at originally); they won't play a part in the selection of the winning team, which will ultimately be responsible for a more focused plan governing the station and about 40 surrounding acres that Metro bought last year. The teams were all in town to interview with the selection committee this week and the Metro board will probably make a final pick at their June 28 meeting. The master planning process will then get underway in July and take about two years. Here's a little more on the teams and their grand visions:
This team wanted to focus on meeting the needs of a variety of users (commuters, locals, students), and keeping the station active all the way into the evening, so that the area never feels unsafe. They also wanted to emphasize Union Station's courtyards and open air feel.
G and G talked about making LA "into the great transit-oriented city that we know it can be." They want to embrace density and mixed-use development while maintaining a "pleasurable, healthy environment."
IBI and Foster talked about making connections with the surrounding communities, greater Los Angeles, and the rest of the world. They also want Union Station to tie into both the eventual high-speed rail line and the LA River.
Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners/TEN Arquitectos/West 8
These guys had the most specific plan. They want to unpave the area in front of the station to create a green and public esplanade; inside, they envision a "digital commons" that shows visitors what's going on around the city, as well as pop-up cafes and a courtyard pathway to the trains rather than a tunnel. Their plan thinks of the station as a "garden environment" shielded by lightweight canopies. They also imagined new buildings with offices or housing terraced up to the station.
This group also emphasized US's lovely courtyards; they want to turn the whole site into a park with a repurposed station carved out.
Renzo Piano Building Workshop/Parsons Transportation Group Inc.
Renzo Piano himself showed up! (He said he wanted to show his interest in the project.) He emphasized the creation of public space and public transit's ability to create that space. He had a little skyline-shaped model for the site that he talked about mimicking Downtown--he said not to take any of it too seriously, but also not to take it too lightly. You got it, Piano.
· The 6 Teams That Could Master Plan the Union Station Redevelopment Include Renzo Piano and Norman Foster [Curbed LA]