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Tahoe City Transit Center

WRNS Studio

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Placer County Department of Public Works

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Project Description

AIA 2013 Small Project Awards winner in Category 3: A small project construction, object, work of environmental art, or architectural design under 5,000 SF constructed by the architect. The architect must have had a significant role in the construction, fabrication and/or installation of the work, in addition to being the designer.


The Tahoe City Transit Center (TCTC) represents a vital step toward achieving a more sustainable transportation network within the region. Located in Tahoe City, California, at the gateway of North Lake Tahoe, the TCTC includes surface parking for 130 cars; a bus loop, built-in bicycle lockers; and a 1,100 sf transit facility with two restrooms, administrative space, and an enclosed waiting area accommodating up to 40 people. Designed to tread lightly on land, the form of the TCTC is strikingly modern, but also unmistakably of its place. The structure’s long and low roof hovers above the land, and is carefully situated among existing trees and other dramatic features of the site. In a simple, elemental gesture, the building brings together two of the area’s predominant materials, Sierra granite and western red cedar. With its broad eaves, narrow floor plate, thermally massive walls, and high performance glazing, the building adapts to the seasons and integrates sustainability wherever possible. A series of bronze plaques embedded in the granite walls explain TCTC’s sustainable elements, while the building itself exhibits a conservation ethos that encourages visitors to understand their connection to the natural environment through beautiful green design.
Jury Comments: Outstanding. This is first class design and craftsmanship that works on many levels. The scale of the bus is tamed. The project is reminiscent of the approachable architecture of the early century. The wood siding and trees in the background integrate very well. The design is modern and vernacular at once. This profound piece of public infrastructure serves a very important civic function with a low impact modest foot print.
A remarkable piece of regional architecture that is overwhelmingly successful in its design and construction. This is timeless design, executed with materials and a construction approach that rightfully suggests permanence and longevity. This is a transit center that has the capacity to cultivate the public perception of architecture and its role in our culture. A project that is as powerful as it is important.
Collaboration Acknowledgements:
Mechanical Engineer: Guttman & Blaevoet
Structural Engineer: Crosby Group
Electrical Engineer: Silverman & Light
Civil Engineer: Auerbach Engineering Corporation
Landscape Engineering: Quadriga Landscape Architect
Geotechnical Engineer: Marvin E Davis & Associates
Parking Consultants: LSC Transportation Consultants
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