A public forum today at Union Station provided the public with their first look at conceptual visions for Union Station and the surrounding area by six architectural firms bidding to prepare a master plan for the facility.
Metro Executive Planning Director Martha Welborne told the several hundred people in attendance that the point of the vision boards was to energize the teams submitting bids to prepare the master plan, as well as energize the public that uses — or will someday use Union Station.
“These are acts of imagination, they are visions of a potential future,” Welborne said, emphasizing that the teams will be evaluated based on their technical proposals to prepare the Union Station master plan.
Listing the new Metro projects about to open or soon begin construction, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa said that the transit projects are opportunities to transform how the region looks and functions.
“And with high-speed rail coming down the pipeline, Union Station will truly be a hub not just for the region, but for the state,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa. “This is about preparing for the future.”
Los Angeles Councilman and Metro Board Member Jose Huizar made a similar point: “This is a place” — Union Station — “that will have a lot more eyes on it,” he said.
Some quick background: Metro purchased the historic rail terminal and 40 acres of land in April 2011. In anticipation of the purchase, the Metro Board of Directors in March 2011 directed a master planning process be undertaken for the Union Station property.
Twenty-two firms initially responded to Metro and in December the Board of Directors approved a short-list of six firms. As part of the bidding process, each firm was required to submit a 30-inch by 40-inch Vision Board showing a high-concept vision for Union Station in the year 2050.
Here are the boards in alphabetical order by the name of the firm — click on the image to see a larger version:
Metro officials said that the Vision Boards are not part of the formal evaluation process of the six firms. Rather, they’re a means to begin the public engagement process and ignite inspiration about Union Station as a multi-modal regional transportation hub.
Metro staff will make their recommendation to the Metro Board on June 28. Upon approval by the Board, the Master Planning process could be completed in 24 months.