Architype Dialogue presents
What was the most difficult issue about working within this building type or the most unexpected challenge that may have influenced new thought in your project?
Planning for future connectivity and designing for flexibility is our greatest challenge. There are currently no precedents for these types of rail stations in the United States – our current traditional rail stations need to be reimagined. HOK’s goal is to design a rail experience that brings people and communities closer via high speed rail. In the future, intermodal connectivity, community and sustainable design will guide how we live and work in urban areas.
Did this project expand or evolve your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is changing on current projects?
The Architect’s place in the process is always evolving. New rail stations are complex public/private partnerships. Our office needed to think beyond our role as designers and consider long-term intermodal infrastructure. HOK joined a very active dialogue on the nature of public transportation in cities and communities, especially in a dominant car culture like the one we experience here in southern California. Reconceiving how people commute to work and move to their destinations contributes to the ever-evolving dialogue on high speed rail in the US.
How is your building possible today in a way that it may not have been before and how have trends in technology and society inspired new thought and solutions?
We find emerging technologies allow an integrated design process from concept to detailing to fabrication. BIM allows for integrated multi-discipline design. We are able to propose and optimize our concepts for the dia-grid long-span structural shell and ETFE pillow system – which reduced waste, and increased efficiencies and performance. The system is lighter and less expensive than traditional enclosures, reducing foundations and materials. With sustainability at the core of our practice, and with new tools, we’re able to stretch beyond traditional boundaries.
In the context of this project, how is your office and design process being influenced by current trends in academic curricula and incoming young architects? In turn, how are current projects and processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?
We see that the academic dialogue is vital and much more inclusive of the professional community than ever before. Active discussions on many levels design trends, but also planning and sustainability approaches are pushing the envelope more than ever. We’re seeing more active discussions on planning, infrastructure and policy and are encouraged by academic outreach to the professional practice. HOK follows these discussions closely and participate as often as possible. Studios are recognizing the need to study transportation and design. The links between practice and the academy remain vital for bringing new ideas and perspectives to our work.
Architype Review thanks Arnold Lee for his interview and for contributing to this collection of Architype Dialogue.