Washington Union Station opened in 1907 as the largest train station in the world, and remains the multi-modal center of the nation’s capital today. The station continues to be a heavily utilized hub, but the historic integrity and user experience of Union Station has long been jeopardized due to neglectful maintenance and the great demands exerted by its growing number of passengers. The Concourse Design phase represents the critical initial phase of the 2015 Washington Union Station Master Development Plan created by Amtrak and partners, providing immediate improvements for passengers and addressing existing deficiencies.
As the Prime Consultant for Phase 1, KGP leads an interdisciplinary team including Grimshaw and Arup. Phase 1 is comprised of a host of improvements to the Concourse that are divided between two phases: 1a) creates immediate expanded passenger space and amenities and 1b) entails a series of longer term improvements including new entrances, loading dock, yard and bus garage access, and new connections to the lower platforms.
Phase 1a will provide additional open concourse space with new access and resolution of emergency egress issues. This enlarged space will bring immediate passenger benefits with greatly improved waiting areas outfitted with a variety of seating types and amenities. Accomplishing this task requires relocating critical support functions currently in the Passenger Concourse, including the Amtrak Police Department (APD), station manager’s offices, and HVAC equipment. These existing functions will be moved to the west rail yard or the First Street Level, which includes reorganizing baggage circulation. A central wall supporting the taxi road can then be removed, allowing the entire concourse to be opened and expanded to a size similar to the building’s 1906 concourse. A new glass north wall is created with a continuous vestibule that can serve as a security point and allow full view out to the trains. A new Club Acela will be located on a mezzanine above the entry gates, with full glass views of both the expanded concourse and the trains. This scope of work will advance the design for the approximately 70,000 SF of space to a 100% design level and will run parallel with the Phase 1b planning analysis.
Phase 1b includes complex relocations of program elements in the Passenger Concourse and establishing the next stage of improvements. The program issues being addressed by the KGP-led design team in this phase of the project include the following: 1), development of the First Street station entrance in order to increase connectivity and capacity and meet critical life safety requirements; 2), development of new Metro entrance and/or mezzanine; 3), relocation of West Loading Dock operation and yard access; 4), development of a new garage circulation core and altered bus, taxi and pedestrian patterns; 5), realignment of ticketing and baggage operations; 6), improvement of concourse egress, vertical circulation, pedestrian flow and space linkages; 7), modification of the North Hangar.