LRT Stations Revealled (part i)

The design for the Ottawa LRT stations will be shown below. In this post, there will be the inspiration for the Ottawa design, then some initial Ottawa designs both at the surface and in the tunnel sections.

In following posts, there will be the detailed station design and layout and approaches to the Tunney’s, Bayview, and LeBreton Stations. Finally, there will be the Rideau Station and Hurdman.

So stow your tables, put your seat backs upright, buckle up, here we go:

Interior decorators call it the “inspiration shot”, the picture of some other project that captures some of what we want to emulate. The above and next shot are of Brentwood Station in Vancouver. Note the wooden ceiling, curved steel building frame, glass panel railings with aluminum trim. Only the laminated wooden beams with contrasting steel segments are quite different from what is proposed for Ottawa.

 The above Vancouver shot shows the elevated guideway and station platform above the ground level mezzanine, the use of large-ish interior voids and lengthy sight lines that promote a feeling of well being and subjective safety.

Notice that in both the examples shown above there is a portion of the central roof that is open to the sky. These are not fully enclosed spaces. Similar designs are proposed for Ottawa. I trust they will work in our colder and hotter climate.

Here are some of the Ottawa design considerations. First, the roof (  like the Vancouver inspirations) is a free form curve, offering a central open skylight or occulus to let in light and air. The solid roof to the south is angled to block the summer sun; but open at the lower roof-come-wall sections to let in the winter sun.  The “opposite” or north side of the station is glazed wall, letting in light but deflecting breezes.

In Ottawa, winds are a major concern. The prevailing cold winter winds are from the northwest. The design blocks them by glazing and the roof enclosure. The prevailing summer breezes, generally welcome, are allowed to blow into the station. The stations are shelters but not indoors. Nonetheless, there will be motion-activated space heating providing some “hot spots” in the waiting areas, and the benches will be heated in winter to avoid numb bums.

Put the solar and wind factors together, marry them to the curvilinear station building shape, and then make the ceiling say “Ottawa!”. In this shot of the surface station proposed for Hurdman, the north wall to the left is glazed; the south wall to the right is open air. The wooden ceiling panels are suspended between a grid of metal diamonds. The wall pillars are dynamic V-shapes. The exterior roof treatment will be metal. This is the Ottawa vocabulary for the whole LRT system. This is a centre platform station, the preferred configuration for our system.

I think there is a distinct design similarity to the proposed Lansdowne Park stadium shape and wood cladding. The bulgey shape also reminds me of the new Congress Centre. The V-shaped supporting steel pillars in the Ottawa plans remind me of the Ottawa airport.Is this City at risk of having a coherent Federal design vocabulary (neo-gothic, green roofs) and an actual City design vocabulary expressing itself in the Congress Centre, Lansdowne Park,  Airport and soon the dozen LRT stations?

For the underground stations at Downtown (west) and (east) and Rideau Street, the design is modified to fit the tunnel shape. This is also a centre platform design, with access mezzanines above the tracks.

Coming up next: the Tunney’s Pasture station design, access, transfer opportunities, and neighborhood integration.

18 thoughts on “LRT Stations Revealled (part i)

  1. Wow… I’m pleasantly surprised. My gut reaction is that this looks good. I was afraid we’d get something ugly with critical design flaws like the current red tubular transitway stations (those sight lines are TERRIBLE!).

    My only concern is the accessibility of the wood ceiling, especially in the underground station design. It appears to be low enough to be a graffiti target. Is there a graffiti-resistant finish for wood that lets the grain show through?

  2. seems great, but as you’ve previously noted, shouldn’t station design be taking into consideration how to incorporate the stations into new, high-density development (simultaneously) to up demand and to offset the cost of this (credit where credit is due) surprisingly attractive design?

  3. One hopes we’ll get away from the atrocious transitway where verything is the same, with the same colours everywhere. Montreal’s Metro is the gold standard, with each station having a unique look and visual identity.

  4. They look very nice indeed. Where are the adverts though? No Ipad 2? No Coming Attractions at the local cinema? These station mock ups look great, and I hope they are reflective of what they stations will look like when built.

  5. I noticed that the tunnel platforms lengths are no longer going to be 180m (possible budget cuttng) in the final buildout phase and a also a very disturbing design detail at Bayview Station. They have added a space for a STO bus facility for buses coming off the Prince Of Wales Railway Bridge. I guess OC Transpo and the City don’t believe we will ever have rail transit going to Gatineau.

    1. The platform lengths conveniently reduce station cost, but that is not the reason for them being shorter. New LRT equipment carries the same volume today in five cars instead of six. Sometimes this done by having articulated cars, ie open to each other, no space lost over the coupling, in which crowds redistribute themselves, and of course there is the additional space over the wheels/coupling. I dont know exactly why the Ottawa capacity increased, but Delcan says it is because of train set technology allows 5 to do what six were required to do before. thanks for reading and commenting.

  6. Love the wood/curves/glass/steel. Anything that is a departure from the prevailing brutalist/concrete influence would be appreciated.

    I once played a small part in helping to build an outdoor stage in Yellowknife using a metal roof over curved laminated wood. Over the last 13 years it has withstood the elements very well.

  7. on second look, the wood ceiling in the underground stations is on the far side of the tracks… that would provide some of a deterrant to graffiti artists. Likely not enough to stop them, especially if the trains don’t run 24/7.

  8. Like others, pleasantly surprised. They don’t suck! But really I want to say great work Eric for taking the report material apart, focusing on the images, and helping us to interpret what we are seeing. Extremely valuable resource!

    1. Hear hear.
      Eric, I can’t wait to read about the “neighbourhood integration” of Tunney’s. To me it looks like 98% of the design energy is going toward the Pasture, with very little integration at all. Particularly with the station extending a full block further West, Scott Street is going to become even more a game of Frogger as people dodge across from the LRT toward Wellington West..

  9. Next week’s headline (once back from vacation): “‘Functional LRT stations to nowhere!’ cries Ken Gray”

  10. I am still concerned about the shortening of platforms. When Edmonton expanded their LRT system just a year or so ago they installed platforms based on expected ridership, etc, and almost as soon as the new platforms were in use, they realized that they needed to extend them. We should be building these stations expecting and anticipating growth. No matter what the cost savings, it is cheaper to build them larger now than to have to extend them later.

    I am also disappointed with how few ‘lessons learned’ seem to come from Edmonton and Calgary (very similar sized cities). Ottawa and its rapid transit system is simply not in the same league as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver which seem to be the constant comparisons.

    1. Ottawa is not in the same league as Vancouver by choice. By stupid, short-sighted choice after stupid, short-sighted choice. The distances involved in Ottawa’s fully-built-out system, and with real transit to the suburbs instead of dolled-up 1974 busways, are virtually identical to the system that is built and on the drawing boards in Vancouver.

      Now if only Ottawa could get over the Greenspace/Greenbelt fetish and the anti-everything NIMBYism, and there could be some intensification to go with that transit system, but nope: notice how so many of the busway stations have “Field” or “Pasture” in their names? T’will ever be thus; transit stations in a park.

      1. Quick! Someone tell Transport for London to rename the following stations, lest WJM be offended by their ruralesque names!

        Arnos Grove
        Bethnal Green
        Bounds Green
        Burnt Oak
        Canada Water (sounds suspiciously rural, anyway)
        Chalk Farm
        Clapham Common
        Colliers Wood
        Covent Garden
        Ealing Common
        Green Park
        Greenwich – all these “greens” – talk about a Greenspace fetish
        Ladbroke Grove
        Maida Vale
        Moor Park
        Parsons Green
        St. John’s Wood
        Shepherd’s Bush
        Stamford Brook
        Stepney Green
        Turnham Green
        Willesden Green
        Wood Green

  11. wjm: transit stations in a PARK??? More like in isolated WASTELANDS. TOD in this City means “private lands” nearby, not on City lands to earn back some of the station costs, and certainly not well integrated with the transit.

  12. I reacll in Montreal it’s possible to go from your condo across town to your office, stop for groceries on the way back, and go home, all without setting foot outdoors, with the integration of the Metro into the downtown core.

    In Ottawa, well, not so much…

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