los angeles

Day 11: The Beauty of Process & Partnerships

Photos by Chang Kim & Devin J. Dilmore.

Photos by Chang Kim & Devin J. Dilmore.

“What a beautiful maintenance facility!” said no one ever.

But Division 13 (D13) isn’t your average bus maintenance and operations facility. Beauty, whether being used as an adjective to refer to our built environment or otherwise, is inherently subjective and its use is easily debatable. Beauty can describe physical appearance and it can also be about the meaning and the process behind a project. LA Metro and the D13 design team at RNL sought to design something different when the project was first conceived. The facility was not only meant to be physically attractive, but it was also to represent something different, that appeals to the senses on a larger scale.

 
The tree is depicted as a series of graphite drawings laminated to polycarbonate panels. Source:  Metro

The tree is depicted as a series of graphite drawings laminated to polycarbonate panels. Source: Metro

The use of color, scale, landscape and massing all contribute to the beauty of D13, but one element stands out above the others is the public art integration. The lantern, as it is referred to, is subtle and almost hidden during the day, but at night becomes a focal point. The dynamic art piece is the product of an extremely collaborative effort by RNL, Metro Art, 3form and artist Christine Ulke. The artwork consists of hand drawings of a sycamore tree that were scanned, enlarged and printed onto a interlayer of composite translucent 3form panels. Titled El Aliso de Los Angeles, the piece commemorates a 400 year old tree which stood near the site and was cut down due to encroaching industrialization. The massive tree was at the center of Yaanga, one of the largest settlements of the native Tongva people in the LA basin.

It can be seen as an urban scale lantern, but more importantly as a commentary on the control of nature imposed by the built environment. Beauty is sometimes in the details (or the materials), but it can also be in the statement made by a public agency in partnership with artists and architects.  D13 may not appeal to everyone or evoke feelings of beauty for many, but the process and the story can be appreciated by even the most cynical of critics.

 
3form panels being installed at Division 13. The artwork will improve the quality of a high visibility street intersection across the street from Union Station. Credit:  The Source

3form panels being installed at Division 13. The artwork will improve the quality of a high visibility street intersection across the street from Union Station. Credit: The Source

Article by:
Will Todd, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
RNL Associate, Project Architect


LA Metro Cuts the Ribbon on LEED Gold Division 13

Photos by  Chang Kim & Devin J. Dilmore.

Photos by Chang Kim & Devin J. Dilmore.

Earlier today, Los Angeles Metro held a ribbon cutting for the newly completed Division 13. A $120 million bus operations & maintenance facility project sized at 540,000 square feet.

The three-level complex includes a maintenance facility with 19 service bays for the operation and maintenance of Metro's growing fleet, and 382 employee parking spaces. At capacity, the facility will be able to support approximately 525 employees and 200 buses. Sustainable design features include:

  • Rooftop and façade-mounted photovoltaic panels to generate up to 10 percent of the building's electrical needs.
  • Skylights and white-colored interiors to reflect light, reducing electricity needs.
  • Shade structures and natural ventilation to reduce energy needs.
  • An integrated 275,000-gallon cistern and system of pumps/filters to reuse rainwater for bus washing.
  • A green roof that serves as an employee amenity, and addresses storm water run-off and urban heat island effect.

"RNL believes sustainable design considers the wellbeing of the people who use a space as much as the materials and energy consumed," said Will Todd, project architect with RNL. "Using this holistic approach as a guiding principle on Division 13, RNL worked with Metro to drive building efficiencies, make smart siting choices and create a healthier work environment for Metro employees at the facility."

 
Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley cutting the ribbon. Photo by: Gary Leonard for Metro

Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley cutting the ribbon. Photo by: Gary Leonard for Metro

From Metro's new release:

Division 13 is a model of energy efficiency and design and will serve as an example for other transportation agencies world-wide,” said LA Metro Board member and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. “This necessary investment in our transportation infrastructure ensures safe and reliable travel options to meet the needs of today’s riders as well as for future generations. – The Source

LA Metro’s First Secure Bike Parking Station

The El Monte Bike Hub will have 24/7 access, 56 bicycle spaces, accessory sales and is stocked with all the tools needed for commuter to do repairs. Photo Credit:  Metro

The El Monte Bike Hub will have 24/7 access, 56 bicycle spaces, accessory sales and is stocked with all the tools needed for commuter to do repairs. Photo Credit: Metro

L.A. METRO ANNOUNCES GRAND OPENING OF ITS VERY FIRST “METRO BIKE HUB” AT SAN GABRIEL VALLEY’S BUSY EL MONTE STATION

As part of The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) commitment to enhancing bicycle infrastructure in the L.A. region, Metro today celebrated the official opening of its very first “Metro Bike Hub,” a dedicated, full-service, secure-access, high-capacity bicycle parking facility at the El Monte Station, the busiest transit hub in the San Gabriel Valley.

The new $635,000, 1,100+ square-foot facility is conveniently located in prime ground-floor retail space at the front of El Monte Station, the largest bus facility west of Chicago.  The facility will provide a full suite of bicycle-related services including controlled entry for 56 bicycles under closed-circuit TV surveillance, peak-hour staff availability, folding bike rentals, same-day repairs, accessory sales and bike-related classes.  The facility adds 60 percent greater bicycle parking capacity to the station. -
LA Metro

 

After doubling its size in October 2012, El Monte Station has become the busiest transit hub in the San Gabriel Valley. Photo Credit:  RNL

After doubling its size in October 2012, El Monte Station has become the busiest transit hub in the San Gabriel Valley. Photo Credit: RNL

The next four Metro Bike Hubs planned to open at high-demand transit stations across Los Angeles County will be at:

  • Hollywood/Vine
  • Culver City Expo Line Station
  • Los Angeles Union Station
  • North Hollywood Red/Orange Line Station