Visited by 32 million people a year, Union Station in Washington, D.C., is one of the busiest train and bus stations in the United States. In 2011, a decision was made to transform this jammed building into a modern, inviting and efficient space that would help guide passengers from one mode of transport to another. The new station was inaugurated on May 1, 2013 and its centerpiece is a shiny ticketing and information pavilion built of composite material.
Futuristic, boundless design
Building with composites is a fairly new concept. Advanced composites have so far most commonly been used for secondary structures or large self-supporting structures such as domes. Today, architects discover the boundless design possibilities presented by composite materials to create not only dramatic features and 3D components but also futuristic primary structures.
Award-winning Studio Twenty Seven Architecture, who were contracted to design the new pavilion, hadn’t until then really considered using composite materials for construction. However, the long and narrow shape of the concourse limited the size of the pavilion, which also needed to be easily accessible and able to withstand weather exposure. Several design options were developed for the space. The winner was an unusual curved structure made up of two conjoined egg-shaped parts.
Enters boat builder
At first, metals were considered, but cost and time considerations soon made Studio Twenty Seven and the project contractor, Monarc Construction, to glance at composites. The pavilion’s design reminded of a boat hull, so a decision was made to turn to Compmillennia LCC., an experienced boat builder with a long history of manufacturing composite yachts.
Compmillennia provided fabrication options and guidance to the architects as the design evolved. The silver metallic ovoid shapes were end cut vertically to create a planar, textured wall at each entrance of the pavilion and along its back wall. The result looked a bit like a zeppelin with the ends sliced off.
Divinycell provides stability
Since Compmillennia had a good working relationship with Diab the choice of material was easy. To stabilize the wall panels of the pavilion Compmillennia used Divinycell H45, which gives impressive mechanical performance at low weight.
The pavilion was fabricated in two sections at Compmillennia’s
plant in Washington, N.C., and shipped for installation via flatbed truck. Because the station is heavily used, there was a very narrow window in which Compmillennia
could deliver and install the building: the night of May 1, 2013. The light weight facilitated moving the structures by hand through security barriers and a glass curtain wall.
The Union Station pavilion has received a lot of interest and is nominated for the Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE) in design category “Most Creative Application Award” at CAMX 2014 that will take place October 13-16 in Orlando, Florida.
Read more about Compmillennia LCC; http://compmillennia.com/
Please find link below from Studio27 architects, for further photos: