Rutgers University unveils transit shelter prototype

Posted on November 15, 2010

[IMAGE]Rutgers2-6.jpg[/IMAGE]A new prototype transit shelter, designed to be an identifying icon, was recently unveiled at Rutgers University.

Design firm De Biasse & Seminara based in Martinsville, N.J., was tasked to design a transit shelter prototype that would be durable, cost-effective and an identifying icon throughout Rutgers' New Brunswick, N.J.-area campuses. The design and installation was completed over the summer, with the new prototype shelter becoming available to students on campus at the start of the fall semester.

The site chosen for the first shelter, which was designed in different sizes to fit in a variety of areas on campus, was in front of the old gymnasium — aka "the Barn"— near the Student Center, it is one of the busiest transit stops on campus. As such, there was concern on the part of the University that the design not obstruct the sidewalk or, further, overpower or detract from any existing campus architecture.

"The architects listened to us — the design was spot on, and addressed concerns of our entire building committee," said Jeffrey Livingston, RA, Rutgers University's architect.

Rather than using red paint or the (ubiquitous) "Big Red R," a red translucent panel serves as the shelter roof module. The four-foot by eight-foot panel creates a red shadow of varying intensity, depending upon the weather and time of day, that travels the site with the rising and setting of the sun.

The translucency of the red roof continues in its supporting steel structure: A curved tube column is repeated, in plan, in a circular array to create the trunk and arcing branches of a black-painted "tree." The tube columns are spaced apart to accommodate roof leaders and conduit. This space is enclosed with a curved perforated steel panel. The branches of the trunk reach up and connect to gently curved tube beams which create a low point, for roof drainage.

Each red translucent panel is point-supported above the gray painted steel framework by two-inch stainless steel standoffs. The red panels are set off by 18-inch by four-foot clear panels and the continuous stainless steel gutter. All panel joints are sealed with structural silicone.

The nine-foot by 18-foot individual module, comprised of four red and two clear panels and one column bundle, is intended to be arranged in various configurations or used solo, depending upon ridership, location and context at each individual stop.

"At Rutgers, we always tell students that it is a transit system, not a bus system, said Jack Molenaar, director of transportation at Rutgers. "This new shelter, designed by De Biasse & Seminara Architects,  is truly a transit shelter and brings our entire system to a new and much better level."

Meanwhile, at the 70 foot-long College Avenue shelter, the remaining pergola structure spans over four curved-column tree assemblies and creates the framework of support for the clear and red translucent roof panels flanking a continuous stainless steel gutter.

The shelter is lighted by photocell-controlled, step-dimmed linear fluorescent fixtures between columns and in-ground LED up-light accenting each column bundle.

The entire design, fabrication and construction processes for the College Avenue Student Center Shelter were completed within a thee-month period, meeting an aggressive schedule set by Rutgers.

The College Avenue Shelter is the new standard for Rutgers Transit shelters, and will gradually be installed throughout all of Rutgers New Brunswick area campuses.


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