The Washington Park TriMet Station in Portland, Ore. is an award-winning transportation hub that includes platforms 260 feet below the surface of the earth, making it the deepest rail tunnel station in North America. ZGF served as the original architect and urban designer in 1998 for the $24 million station and completed this $2.1 million rehabilitation in 2018. As a gateway to many of the city’s premiere attractions, including the Oregon Zoo, the rehabilitation project transformed the 20-year-old station for a new generation of riders and was recognized as a 2018 Interior Design “Best of Year” Honoree in the Transportation Category.
In the original design, surface facilities created a pedestrian linkage between destination points via walkways and gardens. This design evolved through the charrette process, culminating in an open and inviting plaza that tells the story of transit and the experience of being between places.
Artists were integral to the team in both the original project and the 2018 renovations. The original station artwork included a geological timeline created using core samples from the site, and “The Kiss,” a basalt sculpture placed in the center of the plaza that represents the circular pattern created by the tunnel boring machine.
For the renovation, large scale graffiti-resistant murals designed by subconsultant Mayer/Reed were installed on the 300 ft tunnel walls, resulting in the largest murals of this kind in the Portland-Metro area. The murals, inspired by the naturally occurring color palettes of dusk and dawn, indicate directional travel with brighter colors reminiscent of a sunrise found on the eastbound platform and warmer, more saturated hues of a sunset present on the platform traveling westbound.
Designed for ease of maintenance and improved user experience, products and materials were selected for their quality and durability. Patterned tiles from Neolith and backlit art boxes clad the station end walls. Custom pendant mount LED light fixtures bring a human scale to the cavernous structures and provide the comfort of daylight in a space buried 260 feet below the surface of the earth.
Constructed for $72 per sf, the Washington Park Station Renovation achieved the project’s goals of a financially responsible improvement to the lives of TriMet facilities staff and enhanced user experience. This work is part of TriMet’s larger vision to reinvest in public transportation and improve access in the rapidly growing region.