- Environment & Infrastructure
- Strategic consulting
- Specialist consulting
- The Living City
- Happold Consulting
The waiting game is over and the official announcement of the Los Angeles Union Station Masterplan team is public – Gruen + Grimshaw Architects will lead the once in a lifetime opportunity to re-think this incredibly important 42 acres in downtown Los Angeles. Buro Happold is very proud to be an integral part of the Masterplan design team, having also supported Moore Ruble Yudell/TEN Arquitectos/West 8, EE&K (a Perkins Eastman company), and NBBJ/Ingenhoven Architects.
Design competitions are always fascinating periods of intense thought, where the idea of winning pushes you to think bigger and bolder. Particularly in this case, Metro asked the 6 shortlisted teams to create visions for the next 50 years – without the normal boundaries of reality. And what fantastic ideas came forth – all exciting in their own unique way.
But now the real work starts and the need to juggle all the requirements of local rail, Metro, California’s High-Speed Rail (HSR), highway connections, parking, logistics and security. Oh, and not to mention the 6 million square feet of commercial and residential space. However, in addition to these technical requirements that we engineers love to sink our teeth into, there is the very real need to heal the urban landscape cut deep by the 101 freeway and to re-connect with the community of Boyle Heights. The consequence is that the real impact of this Masterplan will have far wider implications.
Refocusing on Union Station as an urban center will invigorate this part of downtown by creating a mixed-use, dense, downtown commercial, residential and transit hub - one that will catalyze an economically, socially and ecologically vital future for this part of downtown Los Angeles.
For the issue of transportation, we believe very much in creating transport equity where all modes of transport are integrated in a compact solution – mitigating travel distances and improving efficiency. Such a solution can emphasize the foundations of such a Masterplan.
In creating a successful urban landscape and mixed-use community, Buro Happold has developed very specific skills in supporting the development of a Masterplan. Beyond just the heavier engineering disciplines of civil, infrastructure, transportation and utilities, we have developed over the last 10 years a customized piece of software to model people flow – developed initially for the stadium/arena and aviation sectors but now influencing the design of the Kurskiy Railway Station in Moscow. The software has also been further developed into the area of fire engineering, modeling egress during a building evacuation. Our animation team use this analysis to inform comprehensive video production combining live footage with animation to articulate to client’s the impact of the analysis.
In addition, in the area of security consultancy, we provide a comprehensive overview of the strategic security issues affecting the development of a Masterplan. Encompassing all of these disciplines is the field of sustainability, where social, economic and environmental strategies strengthen our decision making. Creating design guidelines on carbon, water, waste, social connection, landscaping and property mix support the whole design team.
The Union Station Masterplan will be bold, creating an embedded transportation infrastructure that will serve as a backbone for this exciting new, mixed-use, dense community that will be a template for future inner city masterplans. Combined with the integration of the existing historic Union Station, this Masterplan will surely be an LA masterpiece. We look forward to the next 18 months.