What does $96 million buy today? For Springfield, Massachusetts, it bought the return of a historic past and the giant step toward a dynamic future with the massive renovation of Union Station.
Enjoying a heyday in the 1920s, the train station closed in 1973 due to declining use. Empty for over 40 years, it re-opened in June 2017 as a regional intermodal transportation and retail hub, following renovation and restoration by HDR Boston, who served as the design and executive Architect for the project. It now accommodates rail, bus, bicycle and pedestrian traffic, with plans to expand rail service in the near future.
The interior features original artifacts along with new artwork in an environment that houses the terminal on the lower level with restaurants, retail stores and office space on the upper floors. The exterior accommodates the public with functional, protective structures that combine aesthetics, economy and high performance.
These include six canopies, 10 bus shelters and a bike shelter – all engineered by Duo-Gard Industries, a leading design/build/manufacture firm located in Canton MI. The company specializes in translucent glazing technologies. This specialization was important to HDR’s design principal Joe Mamayek, AIA, LEED AP.
“One challenge for this budget-conscious client was the ability to design durable structures while balancing aesthetics and functionality. Duo-Gard successfully addressed these challenges,” Mamayek said.
He said Duo-Gard’s translucent, multiwall polycarbonate glazing systems were used on all the structures, adding “I’ve always been fascinated with the translucent qualities of polycarbonate glazing as it allows natural lighting, enhances safety and provides impact resistance with minimal maintenance.”
Mamayek became familiar with Duo-Gard’s systems after seeing the Morgan Street Station’s trackside canopy in Chicago. “For Springfield Union Station, the design intent was to achieve contemporary vernacular that was easily distinguishable for all the structures,” he said.
The following Duo-Gard features were integrated into the overall project:
The Intercity Canopy: Spanning from the Terminal to the new 377-car parking facility is the largest canopy serving the Intercity bus lines. This canopy measures 322 feet long by 25 feet wide and features two wings.
The Walkway Canopy: Running along the south side of the parking garage, this canopy measures 200 feet long by 11 feet wide and allows pedestrian movement across the site via Main Street. This canopy serves as a natural gateway from the downtown area of Springfield to the project.
The Island Canopy: The free-standing, butterfly roof measures 189 feet long by 18 feet wide. This canopy serves Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) which operates the regional bus lines for Springfield MA.
The Terminal Canopies: Welcoming the public at three secondary terminal entrances are canopies providing “shelter and iconic gateways” into the historic Terminal building.
Bus Shelters: A total of 10 bus shelters was strategically integrated into the site. One cluster of six at 22 feet 5 inches by 4 feet 6 inches and one of four shelters at 16 feet 6 inches by 4 feet 6 inches serves passengers. The style echoes the clean, contemporary aesthetic of the canopies, complete with green 8mm polycarbonate. The walls are 3/8-inch clear tempered safety glass.
Bike Shelter: Completing the theme is Duo-Gard’s Harbor bicycle shelter, a contemporary structure 24 feet by 8 feet 6 inches in a quarter-round style with requisite 8mm green polycarbonate. It features racks to park 18 bikes.
The canopy systems all feature Duo-Gard’s Series 2500 System, designed for wide-span strength. Glazing is 20mm batten polycarbonate in a soft sage green. The steel and aluminum substructure is cream-colored in a Tnemec finish for durability. Duo-Gard provided the entire steel substructures and connections.
“The Union Station canopy project was a challenge due to the complexity of the engineering of the steel structure, the connections and the components that were anchored to the canopy structure, as well as the existing site conditions.” said Dianne Salata, senior project manager for Duo-Gard’s Architectural Division. “Duo-Gard’s engineering team prepared an extremely detailed set of shop drawings which assisted the project manager to guide the general contractor, Daniel O’Connell’s Sons, through the two-year process. With great communications, together we were diligent about the details and provided updated information to engineering to make the necessary changes due to unexpected site conditions.”
Reaction to the renovation has been gratifying. Mamayek said everyone is pleased with the performance of the Duo-Gard structures: “The project required a unique intervention. Duo-Gard provided not only a superior product but also a partnership that allowed a positive outcome for the client and the citizens of Springfield.”
Photos: Clark Linehan Photography