Local designs chosen for rail station

Designs submitted by a group of high school students and a South Dartmouth architect were selected as the winning concepts in the Whale’s Tooth Intermodal Station design competition, officials announced Wednesday.
The awards were announced during an event at the New Bedford Whaling Museum attended by the students from Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High School and architect Damon May, as well as other contest entrants.
The design contest for the station, which will be built as part of the South Coast Rail project and may host a new local and inter-city bus terminal, was announced in November as a way to gather ideas from the community that can be incorporated into the station’s final design.
“The genesis for this event occurred during a station workshop last year,” said Kristina Egan, director of South Coast Rail for the state Department of Transportation. “We heard loud and clear from New Bedford residents that they really wanted a design that reflected the history and culture of New Bedford.”
The five-member team from Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech seniors Jennifer Benevides, Brandon Correia, Michael Cruz, Patrick Grime and Catarina Pedro submitted a design for a brick-and-granite building lined with windows inspired by nearby Wamsutta Mills.
The entrance to the building is a three-story atrium meant to evoke the Butler Flats lighthouse.
“We tried to capture the idea of the old whaling and textile era of the city,” said Grime, the team lead.
Of the eight designs submitted, the plan by South Dartmouth’s Damon May was the one that most paid tribute to the city’s old train station.
“The city’s got good bones,” May said. “I was interested in the big, brawny buildings of the waterfront.”
The three-level building features a dramatically sloping, south-facing roof with solar panels. Once he had that roofline down, said May, the rest of the design proceeded from there.
The judging panel Lang, Egan, Steve Smith from the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District, Jill Maclean and Anne Louro from the city’s Planning Department, and Edgar Adams from Roger Williams University also gave out honorable mention awards to the other six entries for specific design features.
Smith said the stations are one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of the overall South Coast Rail project.
“It reminds us that this is more than just a train running between New Bedford and Boston,” he said. “It is an urban revitalization project.”
Egan said design work on the Whale’s Tooth station had been halted last summer after the feedback the team received in New Bedford, but now that the ideas from the design competition had been collected, work could start again.
That process will likely advance slowly, she said, as a funding source has yet to be identified for the station.
“We’re going to be looking to include many of the elements that came out of these designs,” Egan said. “It was a hard decision and we just think we have so many things to work with.”
Design boards for all eight submissions are on display at the whaling museum.
February 10, 2011 12:00 AM
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