Gruen Associates and Grimshaw Architects are the new consulting team for the Los Angeles Union Station reorganization planned for 2014, the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced late in June.
The board of directors approved the team and the process for implementing the master plan, including a $4.15 million fixed-price contract. The funding will come from commercial rental income Metro draws from Union Station, which Metro purchased in April 2011, as well as from rentals at other Metro-owned stations, says Metro executive officer for countywide planning Cal Hollis. L.A.–based Gruen Associates will be the contractor for the project, while New York-based Grimshaw Architects will handle the architectural design needs, including accommodating high-speed-rail lines on the 40-acre property. In winning the contract, the team beat out five other short-listed firms, including IBI Group/Foster + Partners and Renzo Piano Building Workshop/Parsons Transportation Group.
The next step in the process to restore Union Station—one step in a decades-long push to make public transportation a more practical part of the congested city—will be gathering technical data and background information regarding the site. Then Gruen and Grimshaw will present a series of plans to the board of directors to be approved. Once a plan garners approval, the team will go back to the drawing board to build up the design into a master plan, which will include ways to improve pedestrians’ and cyclists’ flow through the station as well as preservation methods for the historic property.
Union Station was designed by John and Donald Parkinson in 1939. Its mix-and-match style façade sets the scene in several famous period pieces, including the film noir train scene in 2001’s Pearl Harbor in which the lovers just miss each other on the station’s platform. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, the station remains an iconic building in the city. (It landed at #75 on the 2007 AIA poll of Americans’ favorite buildings.) Today, Union Station serves 70,000 daily passengers on its regional rail lines and is expected to reach more than 100,000 daily by 2030.