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Houston Central Station

This is pretty cool.

[Last Tuesday], the Houston Downtown Management District hosted a competition featuring designs from five award-winning architectural firms.

The challenge: to design an iconic new Central Station – Main on Main Street between Capitol and Rusk. The station would also be the transfer point for three light-rail lines.

The five invited firms from around the country – including one Houston firm – were asked to consider into their design such factors as: openness, views of adjacent buildings, clarity of circulation, feasibility of construction and maintenance, even how the roof would look from a bird’s eye view.

But the most important requirement was to design a station that would become a landmark for downtown Houston.

About 350 community leaders, architects, design students and residents showed up to hear a 15-minute presentation by each architectural firm. The firms were: SHoP Architects; Lewis, Tsurumaki, Lewis Architects; Neil M. Denari Architects; Interloop-Architecture (Houston); and Snohetta, based in Norway and New York.

Each design was assigned a number at random, which did not represent a ranking. Before the formal presentations started, the crowd walked around displays and picked their favorites. Held on the 11th floor, the event overlooked the intersection where the new rail station would be built.

“We wanted this to be an iconic station…where three lines cross each other – East End, Southeast and the North extension of the Red Line, ” said Bob Eury, executive director of the Downtown District, adding that the competition was a joint project with METRO and Houston Rapid Transit (HRT), a joint venture building our light-rail lines.

You can see more pictures of the entries here and a fuller writeup about them at the Offcite blog. Metro is seeking public feedback on these submissions, so check them out and leave your comments. You can also see competition entries on exhibit in the first floor lobbies of the METRO Administration Building, 1900 Main Street, and Chase Bank Building, 712 Main Street, Downtown, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. through February 10. Swamplot has more.

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2 Comments

  1. JJ says:

    Unfortunately, this is a “rail transfer station” that doesn’t actually have any trains that will stop underneath the nice roof. The stops are all 3-4 blocks away. So why build a fancy, covered station where you can’t actually catch a train? Are people going to get off at Main and Preston, walk 4 blocks in the rain to Main and Rusk, then walk another two blocks in the rain to Rusk and San Jacinto to catch the next train? I would zig zag those 6 blocks, taking advantage of favorable street lights and in all likelihood never visit the Central Station.

  2. mollusk says:

    JJ, I believe you’re mistaken…take a look at the attachment. On the other hand, it would make sense for there to be some linkage between the new Main Street station and the adjacent ones on Rusk and Capitol, and that doesn’t seem to be the case. I think I’m going to stroll by one of the exhibits this week (Chase lobby – aka old Gulf Building – or the Metro headquarters).