by Mike Chino
San Franciscans rejoice! The Transbay Joint Powers Authority just approved a stunning green design for the new Transbay Transit Center to be constructed in downtown SF. Planned by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, the project consists of a graceful glass tower paired with an elegantly sweeping transit center topped with a five-and-a-half acre public park. Both structures will showcase a stellar set of sustainable features and will fulfill the project’s aim of centralizing the region’s transportation network while providing the SOMA neighborhood with a valuable community space.
Pelli Clarke Pelli’s design does an excellent job of balancing the center between three principles: transit, community, and sustainability. City Park is constructed as an expansive 5.4 acre green roof that will be freely accessible to the public and will host a variety of cultural activities. It will also be an educational resource, “exhibiting several local ecologies and sustainability strategies, and presenting interpretive information for each”.
The slender spire touts a curtain cut from high-performance glazed glass bolstered by passive solar shading. The tower’s top is crowned with wind turbines, and each floor draws fresh air directly from the outside via the structure’s facade. Geothermal heating and cooling helps to regulate the building’s temperature, and both the tower and the park will benefit from a sophisticated rain and graywater recycling system that can provide water to neighboring buildings as well.
Mayor Gavin Newsom has lauded the project, stating: “Through this forward thinking project, we can inspire change to an environmentally sustainable model of living while also enhancing economic growth in our City, region and State.” Construction is slated to kick of this year, and the center should be fully realized by 2014.