The new $73.5-million bus facility for Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation is not an average garage. Built to achieve LEED Gold certification, the 442,265-sq-ft project will stack the vehicles in a state-of-the art three-story building.
“An interesting aspect is that this is a multi-level structure for buses which you don’t see too often,” says Aaron Kelly, project director with RNL Design, Los Angeles. “These projects are usually a large, flat surface lot that all the facility is parked on, so to go vertical with a bus facility is fairly unique.”
Created to optimize public transit service throughout Central Los Angeles, the Metro Division 13 Bus Maintenance and Operations Facility will accommodate a fleet of 200 CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles for one of the busiest counties in the country.
McCarthy Building Companies is serving as general contractor on the project and will be self-performing structural and architectural concrete work. RNL is the designer on the facility, which sits adjacent Metro headquarters, in an industrial area of Downtown.
“Because of its location, we had to put forth an architecturally sophisticated project,” says Kelly, who has at least 15 such transpiration projects under his belt. “We didn’t want to have a regular old bus yard sitting across from the headquarters. It’s a tight urban site with an existing building next to it, so it creates a complex architectural challenge.”
He says to give the project architectural identity, RNL created “some fairly interesting facades,” and broke apart the scale of the building. “It could have been a large bus barn but we wanted to make something better; we created visual interest.”
Design highlights include sun louvers, curtain walls and architectural concrete, along with metal and photovoltaic panels to screen bus parking and circulation ramps, while creating a sense of motion and movement. “The panels are arranged in a linear fashion and are typical of transportation architecture,” says Kelly.
The project, which broke ground October 15, consists of a 442,655-sq-ft, three-level, cast-in-place concrete parking garage with bus washing and fueling stations; an attached two-level, 21,000-sq-ft Operations and Transportation Building for 329 employees; and a 71,000-sq-ft maintenance building with 19 service and vehicle equipment maintenance bays.
McCarthy Project Director Khatchig Tchapadarian says this is a lot of stuff to put on a relatively small, 8.2-acre site.
“It’s a very tight,” says Tchapadarian. “To the north of us is the County Jail and we are literally on the jail property line with our foundation; we don’t even have an inch to spare.”