Award of Excellence: Lake City Skytrain Station

Located on the newly opened Millennium Line on Vancouver’s Skytrain network, Lake City Station sits at the intersection of Lake City Way and Lougheed Highway in Burnaby, British Columbia. The site underneath the station is a sloping lawn that climbs to the north away from the highway. A continuous stand of mixed mature deciduous and coniferous trees is directly across Lougheed Highway, and an established residential neighbourhood is located beyond. Conceived as a wind-swept cloud that is anchored to the ground at its eastern extent while leaping cantilevered above the ground to the west, it also acts as a gateway structure that delineates the character of the high tech park that it faces.

Painted, galvalume finished and stainless steel are combined with glass, aluminum and concrete–durable materials of the station’s construction. Darkly-painted Agilia concrete platform support columns form the base of the station’s structure. These are canted seven degrees to the west, as are the sandblasted concrete fin walls supporting the stairs and the escalators. The steel trusses of the concrete roof canopies taper in depth and are framed in on the bias to the guide-way and platforms. An aesthetic of speed is achieved with the addition of horizontal window mullions that appear stretched.

Commuters arrive or leave the station at the eastern end of the site at a small grade level concourse where the paving pattern takes cues from the geometry of the roof canopies. Visual accessibility is provided day and night for passenger safety and the design minimizes areas of potential entrapment or undesirable loitering, while way-finding is intuitive with a well-defined entry sequence.

Environmental considerations include minimizing the building’s footprint by placing the concourse entry at the eastern edge of the site. Soft uplighting of the underside of the roof structure for ambient light and downlighting if only for critical thresholds (like entry, stair escalator and elevator areas, exits and entry to train cars) has been utilized to reduce overall energy consumption. All materials are easily recyclable. should the building be dismantled.

Erickson: The dynamics of train movement are expressed with drama in this simple, open structure that employs ingenious construction methods.

Fisher: Rarely does infrastructure rise to the level of art, but this elevated train station artfully expresses its function, with a dose of good humour. The whole structure seems to lean, as if sucked along by the vacuum of the speeding trains. The folded metal roof, which provides shelter from the north wind, has a paper airplane lightness about it. And the roof’s angled trusses, the canted steel struts that hold up one end, even the flow of the escalator up to the platform all suggest movement, as if the structure shared the hurry of the commuters within it. Well done.

MacDonald: This project exceeds all expectations normally associated with its type, a public transportation shelter building. Its transformation from the rational plan at grade into a dynamic structure representing movement is beautifully synthesized.

Client: Rapid Transit Project 2000

Architect team: Peter Buchanan (design architect), Alan Hartley, Walter Francl (project principals), Eric Pettit, Neville Doyle, David Harding, Ken Tsai

Structural: C.Y. Loh Associates Inc.

Mechanical/Electrical: Earth Tech

Landscape: Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg

Public art: Metaform

Photography: Peter Buchanan

Budget: $7 million

Completion: July 2003