Project DescriptionThe Mills 50 Bus Stop Shelter is a transit shelter solution for the Mills 50 Main Street District of Orlando, Florida soon to be implemented city-wide. A lack of protected bus stops combined with an emerging interest in promoting a district-wide brand and streetscape led to the creation of a new interactive mass-transit experience.
The design challenge presented the opportunity to create an easily recognizable network of shelters that can serve to unify the district as a whole while simultaneously functioning as a wayfinding element to motorists and transit riders alike. Utilizing an economy of form, the L-shape of the design provides shelter from the elements with a compact footprint suitable placement in the right of way. The orientation of the L-shape corresponds to the flow of traffic.
A minimal steel structure supports the shelter, elegantly touching the ground at each column. DuPont Corian panels form a vandal-resistant cladding for the shelter allowing the structure to read-through the skin in the daylight. The clean lines and simplicity of the efficient design has resulted in a structure that is cost competitive with the current structures in production.
Light is integral to the design, as a source of illumination and as an interactive component that defines the space of the shelter on the street. The shelter responds with a change in color and light as riders wait for, board and alight buses. Likewise, the shelter has the capability to respond to approaching buses, pedestrians and even other occupied bus stop shelters in the district. Utilizing LED technology that emits little heat and requires minimal maintenance, the shelter is able to maintain a narrow cross section. Cost of operation is a fraction of traditional lighting systems. Light intensity has been designed to make these shelters easily-recognizable without interfering with vehicular traffic. This interactive component creates a unique experience between the user and the architecture, and also serves as a warning to those waiting on the bus as the intensity of the lights increases when new users engage the structure.
Through a chance encounter with an aide for the sight-impaired it was learned that there is currently no standard sensory cue for indicating the location of bus stops to those without sight. The aide informed us that some of her students have learned through touch that the steel tube posts used to support the bus stop signs in Orlando are of a specific size and section of steel tube that is different than other street signs, but the new signs no longer use this same steel tube section, and even worse a similar steel tube is now used for other street signs. Leaving the visually impaired to rely on memory alone.
The cruciform column is the response to the lack of a design standard in identifying bus stops for the blind and visually impaired. The columns basic shape is a symbol of connection and exemplifies the essence of what the public transportation system means to the everyday lives of those without sight. It connects them to their work, friends and family.
The Corian shell is graffiti and vandal resistant. Unlike many glass and steel panel systems, the unique skin of the shelter is resistant to even the most abrasive and destructive form of vandalism. Acid graffiti, carving and even holes in the structure can easily be repaired without damaging the structure’s uniform appearance. The shelter is minimal in design; concealed fasteners prevent vandals from disassembling or damaging the structure.
Because the cladding of the shelter is translucent, 100 percent of the shelter area can potentially serve as a lighted backdrop for either decal applied or solid surface inlaid advertisements and branding. Decals may be changed as often as desired and even comprise a full wrap of the shelter. Solid surface inlays may be used for more permanent displays, be they neighborhood specific identifiers or corporate sponsors. The design of the shelter offers the City the opportunity to maximize shelter based advertising revenue.
The Mills 50 Bus Stop Shelter promotes mass-transit through a visual expression of the transit network and interactive experience of its use. It is through this experience that mass-transit is advertised in a positive light and a new streetscape emerges in the Mills 50 Main Street District and City of Orlando.