A Station for All Seasons
In 2011 I was invited to join a team developing a proposal for the new Interchange Light Rail Station and plazas adjacent to the Twin’s Stadium in Minneapolis. My task was to create an “icon” for the site. Since the station would be the central hub for future trains and buses arriving in Minneapolis and thus represent the paradigm shift away from cars to mass transit, I proposed that the station deserved to visually celebrate this new cultural direction.
Also, in view of the fact that Minneapolis has a severe climate, I proposed that the station be fully climate controlled, and provide a clean, comfortable space with the types of amenities hitherto associated with airports, such as , coffee shops, deli’s, newsagents, information desks and comfortable seating. In addition, this airy, sunlit environment would be filled with trees and flowers: a winter garden in the middle of the city, at the major confluence of multiple transit systems.
A vital asset to this goal was the proximity of the Hennepin Energy Recycling Center (HERC) which would provide its excess energy to heat and cool the station. The Station would thus become a working demonstration of HERC’s recycled energy being put to the public good. A highly visible and practical model of sustainability.
To achieve the climate controlled environment we proposed creating a glassed enclosure over the entire station with doors at the platform edge opening in sync with the doors of arriving trains. (Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport uses this technology on its elevated outdoor tram system). An alternative less costly solution, shown in the images, uses “air-dams” at each end of the platforms to shield outside air away from the entrances.
In addition, storm water cisterns and ponds around the station would collect rain water shed by the enclosure and adjacent plazas. This would be used to irrigate the interior plantings and feed misters around the peripheral outdoor seating areas during the summer.