ARG Designs Metro Bike Hub at Historic Union Station

ARG Designs Metro Bike Hub at Historic Union Station

Metro Bike Hub at Los Angeles Union Station is a bicycle storage and retail facility that promotes safe, healthy, and sustainable alternative transportation at the city's bustling historic transit center. As Metro's flagship bike parking facility at the city's primary transit hub, the bike hub houses secure storage for 192 bicycles, provides an array of bike-related services, and helps to fulfill Metro's mission of supporting commuters with their first and last mile of transit.

Built in 1939 in a hybrid of the Spanish Colonial Revival and Mission Revival style with Art Deco elements, Los Angeles Union Station was designed by a team that included the Los Angeles architecture firm of Parkinson and Parkinson, designers of Los Angeles City Hall. Metro asked Architectural Resources Group to create a modern structure that complemented the terminal's historic language and materiality.

The design team drew inspiration from Union Station's indoor-outdoor breezeways, courtyards, and arcades, as well as European steel and iron train sheds of the early 1900s. The result: a low-profile steel structure that complements the station's utilitarian nature while retaining a distinctly modern design.

The new 2,900-square-foot structure blends in with the color scheme of the exterior walls of the station. It is located behind the historic north breezeway, on the site of a previously underused parking lot, so that it is not readily visible from the street. The roof ridge, eaves, and overall length of the structure align with those of the adjacent north breezeway. The solid columns and voids of the breezeway informed the pattern of the bike hub's envelope (solid standing seam siding aligns with the breezeway's columns, and perforated panels align with its voids). The bike hub is set back from the north breezeway to leave room for a new courtyard space that mimics the station's historic outdoor spaces.

In addition to adhering to Union Station's historic preservation guidelines, the bike hub needed to be movable in the event that the station's long-term master plan requires its relocation. Consequently, ARG designed the structure with steel-bolted framing and perforated steel panel systems so that it can be easily disassembled and relocated as needed.

The 800-square-foot retail shop inside the hub provides space for selling bicycles and bike-related amenities, bike repair and maintenance services, and bike rentals. It also includes a small office, a restroom, and an electrical room. A two-tiered stackable bike system allows nearly 200 bicycles to fit into the remaining space. The retail space can be secured after operating hours, even as the bike storage area remains accessible 24/7.

Large skylights and perforated wall panels allow filtered daylight to illuminate the space, decreasing the amount of electricity used for interior lighting. Natural ventilation through perforated wall panels and ceiling fans helps to cool the space. LED light fixtures and low-flow plumbing fixtures further reduce energy and water usage.

Photography: Panic Studio LA