Construction Begins for Transbay Transit Center

By Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, PRNE
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, August 11, 2010 - Construction began today with a groundbreaking ceremony for the Transbay
Transit Center, San Francisco's new state-of-the-art, multi-modal
transportation hub designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. Scheduled to
open in 2017, this landmark glass-and-steel structure will connect the city
and the Bay Area via 11 public transit systems. Notably, the Transbay Transit
Center will be the San Francisco station for California High Speed Rail and
the first new high-speed rail station in the United States. Conceived as "the
Grand Central of the West," the building is designed in the spirit of the
great train stations of the world. The highly sustainable and accessible
building is distinguished by dramatic light-filled spaces and a 5.4-acre
rooftop park.

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"We are very proud of our design for the Transbay Transit Center," said
Cesar Pelli, Senior Principal of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, whose winning
design was selected in an international competition in 2007. "This will be a
beautiful, functional and sustainable building for San Francisco."

The project, which is being built on the site of the Transbay Terminal at
First and Mission streets, will also spur development in the surrounding city
blocks and anchor a new neighborhood.

"We are very excited about the civic mission of the Transbay project,"
said Fred Clarke, Senior Principal of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. "We want
this to be a great transit center - one by which the city is perceived - but
it must also be a great neighbor."

The Transbay Transit Center is designed to be graceful, luminous,
welcoming and safe. An exterior glass wall with undulating forms like petals
of a flower will create a civilized presence on the street. These undulations
also respond to the building's robust concrete-and-steel structural system,
which is engineered for performance in the event of severe earthquakes.

A public plaza on Mission Street marks the primary entrance to the
Transit Center. The main public space - the Grand Hall - will be suffused
with natural light. The central element, a 120-foot-tall "light column," is a
structural component that reaches from the park to the Lower Concourse.
Topped with a 4,000-square-foot domed skylight, the light column not only
supports the building, but draws daylight deep into the interior and frames
views of the park above.

A richly varied place offering both activity and quiet relaxation, the
park will be part of the daily experience of people living and working in the
neighborhood. Walking paths, playgrounds, cafes, a 1,000-person performance
venue, and 12 gardens, each representing a different natural environment,
will form a full-fledged urban park. In addition, a 1,000-foot-long fountain
will have jets of water triggered by the movement of buses below. Over time,
bridges will be added to connect adjacent buildings to the park, fully
integrating it into San Francisco's urban fabric.

As one of the country's greenest buildings, the Transbay Transit Center
will use multiple sustainable design strategies. The most visible is the
park, which will absorb and filter pollutants through its trees, landscape
and water management system. Beneath the Transit Center, a massive geothermal
heat exchange system will be built into the building's foundation. Running
the length of 4 1/2 city blocks, it will be one of the largest geothermal
installations in the world. To further reduce energy consumption, the
building will be naturally ventilated and most spaces will be naturally lit.
Finally, the building will manage stormwater and reuse greywater. The water
reuse and conservation system will save 9.2 million gallons per year, the
equivalent of 19 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The building is targeted to
achieve a Gold LEED rating.

Intended to be a destination for both transit users and the general
public, the building will offer street-level shops, cafes and public
promenades. In addition, the architecture integrates works by significant
contemporary artists including James Carpenter, Julie Chang, Jenny Holzer,
and Ned Kahn.

About Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects

Founded in 1977 and led by Cesar Pelli, Fred Clarke, and Rafael Pelli,
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects has designed some of the world's most
recognizable buildings. The firm's portfolio includes transportation
facilities, office towers, academic buildings, research centers, libraries,
performing art centers, museums, residences, and master plans. The work of
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects reflects the belief that a firm must not be
constrained by a signature style, but that great design arises from
collaboration with clients and respect for each project's environmental,
economic, and social contexts. The firm has been honored with critical
acclaim and hundreds of design awards, including the American Institute of
Architects' Firm Award and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. For more
information, visit

Note to Editors:

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Janet Yoder, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, +1-203-777-2515, jyoder at

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