Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Emil “Lucky’ Reznik Administration, Maintenance & Operations Facility in South Bend, Indiana by RNL
September 25th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: RNL
RNL, in association with Forum Architects of South Bend, Indiana and Maintenance Design Group (MDG), was selected to design South Bend Public Transportation Corporation’s (TRANSPO) Emil “Lucky” Reznik Administration, Maintenance & Operations Facility. Incorporating sustainable design and construction strategies for energy efficient building systems, the facility creates a healthy work environment for employees and visitors. The project is certified as LEED-NC Platinum by the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
The Reznik facility provides contemporary maintenance areas for bus operations as well as housing administration space, bus storage, training and conference areas, employee break rooms and locker areas, and exterior work areas. All bus and maintenance areas are contained within the building, which allows all necessary daily functions, including washing and fueling, to occur regardless of inclement weather.
As a facility designed to meet TRANSPO’s future needs, operational and life-cycle cost efficiencies are inherent in the building’s design and material selections. Daylighting allows natural light to penetrate deep into the facility, reducing the need for artificial light during the day. The impact on the city’s storm sewer is negated because all storm water is retained on site to percolate and recharge the aquifer and create several native ecologies, including wetlands and non-irrigated grasslands. From the start, sustainability and long-term costs were of the utmost importance to TRANSPO. This allowed the design team to challenge the status quo of vehicle maintenance projects and create an architecture that is timeless, award winning and reduces direct operating costs while increasing transportation service to the community.
TRANSPO’s Emil “Lucky” Reznik Administration, Maintenance & Operations Facility is a LEED Platinum project that embraces site, civic identity and function. It began with a reclaimed brownfield site that once housed the Studebaker factory and stamping plant. Since Studebakers are highly prized collector’s items, valuable for their design and quality, the design of the facility draws inspiration from the classic car’s curves and detail. The rounded roofs minimize building volumes and reduce exterior wall area, providing a recognizable identity for community transit, while repetitive materials produce simple, elegant and cost-effective details. The program evokes industrial assembly lines with an arrangement that produces operational efficiencies and annual cost savings for the South Bend Transportation Corporation, ultimately resulting in increased transit services to the region.
The Reznik facility saves utility dollars through the use of extensive daylighting and a super-insulated thermal envelope. The use of perforated corrugated metal panels as a screen creates exterior work environments that erode the boundary between interior and exterior, while also providing shade and shelter from the sun. Translucent glazing punctuates the mass of solid CMU walls and diffuses glare to provide bright interiors.
Exterior materials are carried through to the interior, allowing specific program elements to read as separate and distinct volumes within the larger masses. A 14-foot datum line, visible in all areas, is the take off point for all clerestory glazing. This glazing is shaded and provides necessary daylight to minimize the use of artificial lighting throughout daytime working hours. From the exterior, this datum provides the division line for material changes and aligns with the horizontal mullion glass curtain wall pattern.
The site’s design creates an ecosystem to restore native habitat of non-manicured and non-irrigated prairie grasslands and wetlands. Storm water cleansing bioswales provide spatial buffers and soft edges to the site and public right-of-way. Bio-remediation of surface runoff from parking lots cleanses storm water of toxic pollutants before it enters the waterways. The sculpted depressions, swales and storm water conveyance systems enhance the facility’s architecture by rooting it in its environment and re-establishing migratory pathways and native open space.