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Monday, September 07, 2009

TriMet South Terminus, Portland, United States

Terminus provides re-birth for light rail line
For this important gateway site in Downtown Portland, TriMet was seeking an innovative approach to elevate the design of what is typically an infrastructure project. Three design criteria shaped the project; security, sustainability and the desire for an iconic urban design.

The project integrates urban orientated environmentally responsible features. The site plan revolves around a large ovoid public space, responding to the site geometry. This overlooks an on-site landscaping feature that infiltrates all of the storm water runoff so that no stormwater leaves the site. Granite blocks, reclaimed aggregate and other materials salvaged from the original Transit Mall are employed in the site work.

The site is anchored by a large sculptural steel framework clad with a bifacial 50kW photovoltaic array and coil drapery that screens two prefabricated buildings. Eleven paired vertical axis wind turbines top the outer ring of poles supporting the overhead wires. These two systems are calculated to provide a Net-Zero project.

The project engages the current and future urban context by providing a permanent, green space as a front for future development and integrates and takes its form from the new and future light-rail lines and the city gird. The pedestrian experience is enhanced by exploratory opportunities such as the ovoid’s illuminated 'meter' bench that tracks the energy produced on site and the PV array that cantilevers over the sidewalk along SW 5th.

Security is acheived through clearly defined transitions, edges and material cues define the public 'go zone' from TriMet’s 'no go zone'. Site illumination is subtle through the use of blue filtered light.
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