Confederation Matters – v

Last month I expressed some concern about the change from the “as requested” design of the downtown stations to the “per the winning bid” design. See the post here:

I won’t repeat the pictures or the story here, as  you can briefly review the previous post.

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What prompts this review are some pictures taken last week at the Park Street MBTA station in Boston. This is on the red line (hint: red train,  red wall tiles and décor . They have renovated the station to add a glass window-enclosed elevator, and a similar-style guard station just out of the picture view, on the centre platform. (Note that this is a station with both a centre platform and side platforms).


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But what we want to notice is the flat ceiling in this part of the station. In these areas, there is another subway right upstairs above it, the green line.

But further down the centre platform, there is no green line above it and the ceiling changes to a barrel vault above each track. The higher ceiling is lofty and spacious feeling, especially after the rather more compressed feeling in the lower-ceiling area. All of the side platform is in the high vaulted area, as is most of the centre platform, except for the row of piers where both vaults meet on the centre line.

If I were waiting for a train here, I’d definitely kill my wait time by wandering down to the higher ceilinged area.


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In the distance you can see how the two high vaults, one over each track, change into a single high vault only over the centre platform, and the “just fits” tunnel.  This is an airy and pleasant underground station. Ottawa has nothing above our downtown stations except rock. For the two busiest stations, our downtown platforms will have low ceilings by choice.

Or cheapness.


3 thoughts on “Confederation Matters – v

  1. You’ve pointed out a very interesting aspect of the Ottawa design. Is it too late to think the low ceilings could be replaced by the ‘vaulted’ look? I’m afraid the whole project might take on a far cheaper look than the pics still on display at City Hall. The fact that there isn’t going to be a stop at the NAC or that the old train station will not be in play just blows my mind. sad.

    1. It’s probably not “too late” since the stations haven’t been built yet, but the fact is the station design has already been changed from an airier vaulted centre platform design to a low-ceilinged side platforms design.

      Take a look at the link in the first paragraph to Eric’s earlier post to see the contrasts between the initial DOTT report and the current design.

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