Denver’s historic Union Station is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece located on the edge of Colorado’s Central Business District (CBD). SOM was commissioned to expand and transform this station into a major regional transportation hub. To do so, the firm converted 20 acres of former rail yards into an urban transit district that orchestrates light rail, commuter and intercity rail, bicycle and bus routes, and pedestrian pathways into an intuitive intermodal hub.
The focal point is the open-air Train Hall, which was conceived as an efficient and
an expressive means of sheltering for multiple railway tracks. Its primary structural system comprises 11 steel ‘arch trusses’ spanning nearly 180 feet, cladded in tensioned PTFE fabric. In profile, the canopy rises 70 feet at either end and descends in a dynamic sweep to 22 feet at the center, a gesture that allows the structure to protect the passenger platforms below while providing views of the historic station.
A bustling, two-block-long pedestrian promenade links the Train Hall to the SOM-designed Denver Union Station Light Rail Terminal. An enhanced network of pedestrian and public spaces within and around the site seamlessly integrates the hub into the LoDo (Lower Downtown) district to the east and residential neighborhoods to the south, west, and north.
Vivid colors and natural lighting help passengers orient themselves while handsome terrazzo floors and sparkling yellow glass tile work elevate the ambiance of terminal beyond the often unimaginative depot experience. A series of skylights and glass pavilions flood the hall with daylight, infusing the station with a sense of motion and spaciousness.
Denver Union Station is considered as one of the largest redevelopments of rail yards in the United States. This substantial public investment has catalyzed an unprecedented wave of private-sector activity. Sensitive to its historic location, but fundamentally forward-looking in its technical sophistication and city-building spirit, Denver Union Station sets the standard for the 21st century intermodal spreaders.
Location: Denver, Colorado
Project Year: 2014
Project Area : 1,623,000 square feet
Photographs: Robert Polidori
Building Height: 70 feet
Managing Partner: Anthony Vacchione
Urban Design and Planning Partner: Marilyn Jordan Taylor
Project Manager: Kristopher Takacs
Assistant Project Manager: Mari Lipponen
Senior Transportation Planner: Derek Moore
Senior Designer: Themis Haralabides, Peter Glasson
Technical Coordinator: Rita Kwong, Alexandra Kovenat
Structural Engineer: Aurelie Ble
Prime Consultant: AECOM
Civil/MEP Engineer: AECOM
Lighting Design: Clanton & Associates