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Moving Designs for San Francisco Transit Terminal Put the Light Back in Rail

The current hub for Bay Area bus routes coming into downtown San
Francisco is a thick, heavy concrete monstrosity that glowers over
the sidewalks. But (somewhat) soon, it’ll be gone, replaced by the Transbay Transit Center, a light, bright antidote to its predecessor and a
catalyst for livening up a central corner of the city.

The $4 billion building was just approved by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and, on the back of that good news, the architect of the plan, Pelli
Clark Pelli
Architects
, has released detailed renderings of what the final complex will look like.

When it’s completed in 2017 (just seven years away!), 12 transit systems will run through the building–including the mythical California High Speed Rail.

The main terminal structure
consists of steel framing elements that are narrow at the bottom to keep
sidewalks wide, then sweep outward overhead, enclosed primarily with
glass.

On the terminal’s roof, a 5.4-acre public park is planned, complete with 20 “sub-environments” ranging from a 100-seat outdoor amphitheater, a children’s playground, lily pond, and a 1,000-foot-long fountain shaped–get this–like a bus. Next to the transit center, a tower of record-pushing heights will punctuate the skyline.

The first phase of the development, which will cost $1.6 billion, is set to break ground in August–beginning with the demolition of the forbidding old building.

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