First Look: SOM's design for All Aboard Florida Fort Lauderdale rail station

All Aboard Florida is the only private railway project of its kind in the U.S.

July 09, 2014 |
All renderings courtesy SOM

An estimated three million car trips will be eliminated from the Southeastern United States each year—one of North America's region busiest with visitors, thanks to sunny weather and theme parks. At least, that's the plan for All Aboard Florida, the country's only privately owned, operated, and financed railway project.

The 235-mile rail network will connect South Florida to Orlando by utilizing the existing Florida East Coast corridor infrastructure. Global leading architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) was invited on board as architect and planner for the Fort Lauderdale station.

The design, unveiled yesterday, is lightweight and luminous, which SOM Design Partner Roger Duffy says "responds to its setting and creates a striking infrastructural icon for the city."

 “Fort Lauderdale is a dynamic city whose leadership understands the importance of creating new opportunities and solutions that keep up with the needs and demands of our increasingly mobile world,” says Michael Reininger, President and Chief Development Officer of All Aboard Florida. “As with our other planned stations in South Florida, All Aboard Florida will not only set a new standard in passenger rail, but will revitalize Fort Lauderdale’s downtown core fueling job and business growth, reducing road congestion, increasing tourism, delivering state and local tax revenues, and contributing long-term environmental benefits.” 

The 27,500-sf station will be situated in northern downtown Fort lauderdale on 4.8 acres adjacent to existing Florida East Coast Railway tracks. The building will rise above surrounding buildings, serving as a powerful urban focal point.

A press release from SOM describes how a day in the station would be like:

The plan for the station itself is open and intuitive. Arriving passengers will enter a glazed ticketing lobby at grade level, with dedicated vehicular drop-off and pedestrian links to the city. Travelers will then ascend up an escalator to a bridge over NW 2nd Street, and enter a departures lounge, elevated 30 feet above the station platform.

Additional banks of escalators will take waiting passengers down from the floating lounge, onto the shaded platform, and into their trains. The use of glass throughout this sequence of spaces provides a constant visual connection to the city as well as approaching trains. Viewed from a distance, the station’s stacked, dynamic form evokes a feeling of movement.


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