The existing Lee Van Aken light rail transit station is located at the civic and commercial heart of historic Shaker Heights. Built in the 1980’s, the current station lacks architectural identity and a feeling of safety and is seen as a blight in the middle of a hostile vehicle setting.
Bialosky Cleveland's first task was to establish the urban design that would create the stage for a welcoming sustainable architectural symbol. A strong street presence was needed to calm traffic and balance the needs of pedestrians and vehicles. A new pedestrian link was designed to extend the current bridge and create a place for people. The station layout was inspired by the goals of efficient pedestrian connections between modes of travel, open views for security, and shelter while waiting for trains and buses.
The architectural design responds to the quality of design and materials that is present in the buildings surrounding the site and across Shaker heights. The architectural solution is desired to contribute to the overall aesthetic of the civic district while not upstaging adjacent monumental buildings such as City Hall and the Library. The composition of two waiting/circulation pavilions united by a trellis arch structure will create a streetwall on the west side of Lee Road that will link City Hall with the civic/commercial district to the south. The design was inspired by traditional Triumphal Arches that celebrate events and people. This Triumphal Arch of Shaker Heights will celebrate the community as well as GCRTA.
Sustainability was a driving force in the design of this station which will function well without conditioning the space that is sheltered from the weather. To achieve an economical design, the station utilizes building materials and processes which address the limitations of site access and existing conditions. The use of natural light and ventilation has been optimized to reduce the need for lighting and mechanical systems and therefore reduce operating costs and comply with the standards established for LEED certification. The design was also carefully crafted to maximize the re-use of the complicated existing foundations and retaining walls.