Sunday, March 29, 2015

Gloria Transit Mundi

This is meant in the somewhat free-form translation  of  "the world's glory of transit" (the real translation is "so goes the glory of the world", sic gloria mundi transit). 

The glory of transit is by no means guaranteed in the US. But in Denver the stars aligned and grand design has been put into service on behalf of transit on both ends of the soon operational RTD airport commuter rail line. The one end is DIA, the international airport with its gorgeous tent structure and a commuter rail terminus cum hotel conceived in initial concept sketches by Calatrava now completed by Gensler Architects' Denver office. 
The other is Union Station with another splendid tent structure, a magnificent Union Station restoration and lots of TOD. What's missing are trains. Before the 15 minute headway airport trains will be in operation in 2016, only the daily Zephyr from Chicago to California stops here. 

Great ideas are often too big for the status quo and need a "growing in" time. Denver's glorious stations are a case in point. 

Klaus Philipsen FAIA 

ArchPlan Inc., Baltimore is the architect of record for a bus transit center in Langley Park, MD and is a consultant on the $2.9 billion Baltimore Red Line light rail project.

updated 3/29/15 for corrections in spelling and airport line information

Denver Union Station train hall: A market place with a small corner devoted to trains.
(Photo ArchPlan Inc.)
A very puny intercity schedule for a city the size of Denver
(Photo ArchPlan Inc.)

Denver, Union Station: Deserted station area. Laid out for a transit future
(Photo ArchPlan Inc.)

Denver Airport: The area where the new train station will connect directly to the airport terminal. Hotel and station: Gensler Architects.  (Photo ArchPlan Inc.)

model of the south end of the DUI terminal and the hotel and airport train addition
(Photo ArchPlan Inc.)

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