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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Fullerton And Belmont Stations in Chicago, Illinois by Ross-Barney Architects

 
March 15th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal

The design of the Fullerton and Belmont Stations are a balance of many influences and attempts to bridge the perceived gap between safety, accessibility, and connections to neighborhoods by creating a consistent, recognizable branding for the transit system, while providing unique amenities within open-air plazas at each locality.

The plazas enclose controlled entrances into the stations. In the main plazas, fare collection gateways are supported by flanking white brick pylons that lead to monumental stairs, from which lighter stairs connect to the platforms. Within the plazas, concrete columns taper to provide visual relief and a canvass for artwork bearing the weight of the new, sound-dampening track structure above.

(c) Kate Joyce Studios Photo

  • Architect: Ross Barney Architects
  • Client: Chicago Transit Authority
  • Project: Fullerton And Belmont Stations
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Year completed: 2009

Photo by Kate Joyce Studios

The historic stationhouses were moved across the streets, restored to their original design, and now provide full access as originally intended.

Photo by Kate Joyce Studios

The most prominent feature of both station projects is the incorporation of natural light into the facility and the streetscape. Translucent canopies and glass planks on the platforms were designed to bring light down over the streets to avoid light-sinks along two of Chicago’s most prominent east-west arteries. Layers of perforated stainless steel panels and patterned glass walls slide past stair openings to shelter and to bring light into the deep stationhouse, transforming artificial environments into spaces that blur the threshold to the outdoor streetscapes that surrounds them. Light structural members and reflective finishes sustain the diffusion of natural light, and are designed to accommodate future extensions of canopy enclosure and the replacement of concrete platforms with glass flooring over the streets and plazas.

Photo by Kate Joyce Studios

SIGNIFICANT ARCHITECTURAL, ENGINEERING, AND CONSTRUCTION ASPECTS OF THE PROJECT
The new Fullerton and Belmont Stations are the result of 12 years of planning and design for the replacement of overburdened stations with new fully accessible, multi-modal facilities. The stations are the new transfer hubs of the Red, Brown and Purple Lines of the Chicago Transit Authority, carrying more than 10,000 daily passengers – more than 65% of the system’s traffic and connecting with bus, bicycle and other forms of transportation.

Photo by Kate Joyce Studios

DESIGN
The project was designed to allow full operation of the stations during a construction period of two-and-a-half years, during which there were no major accidents. The design of the two stations is almost identical reflecting their shared roles as major hubs. The most prominent feature of both station projects is the incorporation of natural light into the facility and the streetscape.

Photo by Kate Joyce Studios

Translucent canopies and glass planks on the platforms were designed to bring light down over the streets to avoid light-sinks along two of Chicago’s most prominent east-west arteries. Layers of perforated stainless steel panels and patterned glass walls slide past stair openings to shelter and to bring light into the deep stationhouse, transforming artificial environments into spaces that blur the threshold to the outdoor streetscapes that surrounds them.

Photo by Kate Joyce Studios

Light structural members and reflective finishes sustain the diffusion of natural light, and are designed to accommodate future extensions of canopy enclosure and the replacement of concrete platforms with glass flooring over the streets and plazas.

CONSTRUCTION
In order to make the stations fully accessible, platforms had to be made wider, requiring the reconfiguration of all existing tracks, and the overall expansion of the structure toward the east. Staging was done at the north and south ends of the six-block-long project areas. The project included the acquisition and demolition of buildings in order to build the first phase of the project, the new easternmost track structure.

Photo by Kate Joyce Studios

Temporary entrances were built under the completed structure and work continued in phases toward the west. A three-track system was implemented to temporarily reroute trains while old tracks and platforms were demolished and new structure was built, shifting back and forth until all four new tracks were completed. As each track was completed for service, portions of platforms were simultaneously built to serve passengers, while temporarily maintaining phase-specific security barriers and proper exiting.
The design of many elements was done to facilitate phasing and minimal disruption to service. Half-platforms were built in phases, each incorporating matched sets of precast platform slabs and support structures Canopy structural sections were welded and bolted in large sections and lifted into position during off peak hours.

Photo by Kate Joyce Studios

The historic stationhouses were moved across the streets, restored to their original design, and now provide full access as originally intended. In the spring of 2007, contractors readied the historic station houses for their move Windows and doorways were filled in with concrete blocks to stabilize the openings and steel girders buttressed the building from the inside. The buildings were wrapped with steel beams on to which wheeled trucks were attached. During early morning hours, the streets were temporarily closed and the buildings moved across the streets to their new positions.

At times, the construction work to realign the tracks at the Belmont and Fullerton Brown Line stations was accelerated, allowing the CTA to restore full service where it had been limited by the three-track system.

The project was completed at the end of 2009, as required by the Full Funding Grant Agreement with the federal government.

The stations represented one fourth of the overall budget for the $530 million Ravenswood Line Expansion project, 50% of which was funded by New Starts allocations, including a FFGA issued in 2004. All work was done in accordance to applicable regulations and standards including preliminary planning and design efforts done by Ross Barney Architects in 1998 and incorporated in the Alternatives Analysis stage submittals.

IMPACT ON COMMUNITY
During the Preliminary Engineering phase, Ross Barney Architects led, in association with the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, the multi-consultant development of line-wide and system-wide design and technical specification guidelines to help bridge the perceived gap between safety, accessibility, and connections to neighborhoods.

The plazas enclose controlled entrances into the stations. In the main plazas, fare collection gateways are supported by flanking white brick pylons that lead to monumental stairs, from which lighter stairs connect to the platforms. Within the plazas, concrete columns taper to provide a canvass for anthropomorphic artwork – sentinels bearing the weight of the new, sound-dampening track structure above.

The placement of entry points was based on systematic studies of existing and anticipated pedestrian traffic patterns. The project included the development of adjacent street-level plazas and bus transfer hubs, maintaining and streetscapes and connections to retail nodes – blending with features of the surrounding neighborhood and complementing the City’s streetscape objectives.

The design is a balance of many influences – urban design, branding of the transit system, station identity, property acquisition, neighborhood impact, sound attenuation, budget, schedule, and passenger safety and convenience – , and connections to neighborhoods by creating a consistent, recognizable branding for the transit system, while providing unique amenities within open-air plazas at each locality.. The facilities are safe, clean, fully accessible amenities for the community of users and the neighborhoods that surround them.

Related posts:

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Categories: Train Station, Transport & Infrastructure

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