While Houston and Dallas residents are still waiting for the much-anticipated high-speed train connecting the two metro areas to break ground, a recent student design competition gives them a peek at what some of the stations could look like.
Texas Central Partners, the private company developing the bullet train line, asked college students studying architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and transportation to submit proposals for station designs in three categories: architectural, urban and sustainable. The contest drew 45 proposals. The winning teams, announced Wednesday, won $5,000 for their school and $2,000 for team members.
While Texas Central won’t use any of the designs in full, reps said they were inspired by the students’ visions for the stations. “The winners of this competition displayed truly innovative ideas, design creativity and an emphasis on sustainability,” Texas Central CEO Tim Keith said in a press release.
Texas Central hasn’t announced a firm date to begin construction, but work could start in 2017. The Japanese-style bullet train will reach speeds of up to 205 mph, connecting the two metro areas in only 90 minutes.
Here are the winning designs:
Cross-section rendering of the architectural design proposal
For the new Dallas station, Julia Green of UT-Arlington proposed a 3-floor elevated structure that traverses several Dallas highways that converge at the site. The station isn’t set to be downtown, but a Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail connector would take travelers to other lines. Parking, a gallery space for local artists, retail, restaurants and a coffee shop are placed underneath the station.
The entire building is enclosed in a curtain wall system with a series of louvers to protect the building and visitors from the harsh Texas sun. Solar panels at the top of the station help power the building.
Exterior of the winning urban design proposal
The winning urban design from Dana Moore, Nathan Chen, UJ Song, Hannah Williams and Alex Davila, a team from UT-Austin, nestles the Dallas station on the edge of downtown on a walkable, sloping hill. The site is bordered by major highways and the Trinity riverscape, a newly developed green space with pedestrian and bike trails. The design also features a “porous, swooping framework of wooden cells, which compress and expand along the massing according to solar analysis.”
“Our proposed Dallas station achieves the majesty of an iconic form and the modesty of thoughtful consideration,” the proposal states, “leading Texas toward sustainable transit with high walkability, self-reliant energy technology, and passive shading and ventilation tactics.”
Exterior of the sustainable design proposal
Ledell Thomas and Kaylah Wesley of Prairie View A&M designed a Brazos Valley Station using native materials and off-grid renewable energy backups that can withstand hurricanes and other extreme weather. Other sustainable features include reclaimed wood, rainwater barrels, gray water toilets, solar panels and green walls to help regulate the temperature.
The 4-level station also has plentiful windows and space for a gallery, restaurant, business center, ballroom, gym, arcade, farmers market, retail and a roof deck.
Kelsey E. Thomas is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia but forever dreaming of her PNW roots. She writes about urban policy, sustainability and the outdoors (but also about nearly everything else) and helps brands employ strategic storytelling to grow their reputation and reach. She is a former associate editor at Next City.