Houston Transit Station
Cantilevered canopies for protection from the elements
The introduction of public rail transportation in Houston is exciting and provocative. The dependence on cars to cover the sprawling city and seek refuge from the intense climate makes some citydwellers suspect of a public rail line. Yet, many see the envisioned rail connections between key business and cultural destinations as a welcome change to traffic congestion and endless searches for parking spots. The design for the new Houston Metro Station is an opportunity to add a visual narrative through the city which emphasizes the importance Houston places on design as well as on alternative means of transportation.
When it rains it pours, especially in Houston. Getting caught in a sudden downpour is a common experience in this city, as is having one’s inverted umbrella get carried off by forceful gusts. The cantilevered canopy expresses both the urgency of the Houston climate by appearing to lift off the ground as well as the funneling motion that rain water takes as it is collected into the storm drain system.
METRO (Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, Texas)
Where does the water go? Through stalactites and funnel columns into the platform level grate. This is not only efficient but also wonderful to watch. These details provide interest to those waiting on the platform as well: you can watch water fall, and light is allowed to pass through.
From above office workers and residents look down on what is not so much a roof as an inverted topography, the funnel shapes catching water during rains. At night skim lights will illuminate the structure, casting complex shadows and color patterns across its surface.