ARTIC Blast: Anaheim Celebrates Opening of Transportation Hub

A new era in Southern California transportation began on Dec. 13, 2014, when the City of Anaheim and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) opened a spectacular new transportation hub that brings together multiple modes of transportation in one location.

A new era in Southern California transportation began on Dec. 13, 2014 when the City of Anaheim and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) opened a spectacular new transportation hub that brings together multiple modes of transportation in one location.

An estimated 5,000 people attended the opening of the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), a stunning 67,000-square-foot structure that owes much of its design to a long-gone era, when airship hangars dotted the Southern California landscape.

“The ARTIC design mimics the aerodromes of the 1920s where blimps were once stored, recalling a prominent mode of transportation from this city’s history,” says Samuel Sims, WSP USA's Project Manager for the ARTIC project. “These hangars were a motif throughout Orange County, and I think that concept is what excited the client about the innovative architectural design we proposed to them with our partner, HOK.”

“We [sought] the best architects in the world, and the partnership of Parsons Brinckerhoff and HOK brought in the best proposal,” says Natalie Meeks, Public Works Director for the City of Anaheim. “It was a great proposal and we are thrilled with the results.”

On behalf of the City of Anaheim, WSP led the project for the past six years, responsible for the overall project management, master planning, civil engineering, site structural engineering, and rail engineering. Design began in April 2008, and construction began in September 2012.

“We had a truly dedicated team throughout the entire design and construction process,” says Eric Anderson, who served as WSP's first Project Manager on the ARTIC project from April 2008 through December 2010. “The team successfully addressed the challenges of incorporating the needs of all the user groups.”


©2014 WSP USA

ARTIC provides shopping and restaurant options for visitors, as well as a visually appealing light display at night.

A Transit Grand Slam

ARTIC is nestled between two popular entertainment venues in Anaheim; Angel Stadium, where the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball team plays, and the Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team.

“This location allows the public to use many different transit services to reach these key entertainment venues as well as nearby Disneyland,” says Hank Alonso, Orange Area Manager for Parsons Brinckerhoff.

ARTIC unifies transit services such as Amtrak, OCTA, Metrolink, Anaheim Resort Transit buses, Greyhound, commuter and coach buses, shuttles, and taxis. The center also includes three parking lots with more than 1,100 spaces and 15 electric vehicle charging stations. ARTIC is expected to accommodate more than 10,000 daily riders using all available services. ARTIC was also designed to accommodate the California High-Speed Rail system, a section of which is now under construction.

A bike and pedestrian trail stretches along the Santa Ana River and provides convenient access for non-motorized travelers to gain access to ARTIC, which provides parking facilities for more than 60 bicycles, including 33 bike storage lockers.

“These are many of the ways ARTIC is promoting alternative transportation so that local residents will have convenient options beyond driving a car,” Alonso says. He anticipates the transit hub will ultimately promote other transit-oriented businesses and housing opportunities in the area.


©2014 WSP USA

The glass atrium of the ARTIC center provides a stunning view of Anaheim, while the “air pillow” roof creates an efficient way to keep the building cool.

Destination Site

With space for restaurants, shopping, and special events, ARTIC is already emerging as a destination site, rather than just a transit station, says Virginia Tanzmann, who served as WSP USA's Project Manager prior to Sims.

“There was a lot of interest from restaurants and retailers, so the city was able to pick and choose the tenants that match their vision for the nature of this place,” Tanzmann says.

ARTIC is also a destination venue, capable of hosting meetings and events, taking advantage of the sweeping beauty of the interior and the breathtaking views of Anaheim Hills and the Santa Ana Mountains made possible by the giant glass walls at both ends of the structure.

“This is going to be more than just a transit traffic area,” Alonso says. “People will come to ARTIC just for the building itself.”


©2014 WSP USA

At night, the 1,400 colorful LED lights that line the roof of the ARTIC center sparkle in the night sky.

Light and Bright

Although designed to replicate the dirigible hangars of the past, the modern, cutting-edge innovations incorporated into ARTIC make it a visually spectacular, functional, and efficient facility.

The roof was constructed using more than 18,580 square meters (200,000 square feet) of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a fluorine-based plastic material with high resistance to corrosion and extreme temperatures, adding to the efficiency of the building. Alonso says it is the largest application of ETFE in the United States.

“It’s basically fabricated into a big air pillow, with the exterior side designed to reflect the sun, while the interior side is clear,” Sims says. “You can get a 20-degree temperature difference between one side and the other, creating a heat barrier for the building that results in less energy required to cool the interior.”

The designers made further use of the ETFE panels by installing a network of 1,400 colorful LED lights. “The lights are individually monitored so that they can be made into any color and any pattern,” Sims says. “At night it gives quite a spectacular glow.”

Sims says the building’s use of moving air and radiant heating also contributes to its efficient use of energy. A system of diffusers and air vents near the level where people are moving, along with canopies to capture the air, will help keep temperatures comfortable.

ARTIC is expected to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. Although a decision is still a year away, Tanzmann says the pieces are in place for the Platinum designation if the building operates as expected.

“In an age where a lot of buildings are constructed for a short life, ARTIC has been designed as a 100-year structure,” she says. “This is truly a high-performing building. All of its elements are very highly integrated with one another.”

“This will become a landmark structure in California,” Alonso adds. “My kids are tired of hearing me talk about it, but I believe ARTIC will be a building that is talked about for a long time to come.”


©2014 WSP USA

ARTIC unifies transit services such as Metrolink (pictured above), Amtrak, OCTA, Anaheim Resort Transit buses, Greyhound, commuter and coach buses, shuttles, and taxis.

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