BIG is designing the Hyperloop Certification Center (HCC) on an 800-acre site in West Virginia. The HCC is the next milestone to demonstrate the operation of the Hyperloop system as a commercial product. The project attempts to turn infrastructure into architecture by fundamentally tying the architecture of the HCC to the physical infrastructure of the transportation system.
The 800-acre HCC site will include a welcome center, a six-mile certification track, a pod final assembly facility, a product development test center, and a training center for operations, safety, and maintenance. In order to create a physical interface, the elevated vacuum tube wraps around itself and descends as a gentle ramp, ending in an airlock that allows for safe entry and exit for pods.
The main structural system for the building is shared with the vacuum tube. For greater lateral stability, the corners have been reinforced with a radius on top and bottom and frames with pill-shaped cutouts.
The pill-shaped loop of the tube forms the exterior facade of the facility and the support structure gets extended towards the interior as a sequence of concrete frames with filleted corners for lateral support. Roof, floors, and glass facades are infilled between the frames and form a simple warehouse-like structure that organizes the program as a continuous loop around a central courtyard.
The outdoor courtyard can be used for assembly and testing of pod components, large gatherings, and as a social space for the staff. It also provides visual connections between the different departments and references the courtyard of Virgin Hyperloop’s LA campus.