New Downtown MetroRail Station

Austin, Texas

The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority wanted to create a unique setting for its light rail station in downtown Austin, nestled between the Hilton Hotel and the Austin Convention Center. Using inspiration from the Els Encants Vells flea market in Barcelona, a series of large “pentagonal parasols” with mirrored soffit panels was envisioned to provide shelter for waiting passengers and to serve as an iconic gateway entrance into downtown.

Encotech’s scope of work for this project included the structural design of the seven canopies and an architecturally complementary ticket kiosk on the station platform. After several structural design iterations, a system of tapered steel girders cantilevered from a single, central round HSS column was chosen for the primary structure.  Secondary miscellaneous steel frames were also required to properly support the top and bottom architectural panels.  Open configurations for these frames was chosen to allow for the passage of electrical conduits and plumbing lines.

Because of the complex geometry and very narrow profile of the canopies, BIM technology was critical in preparing an accurate model for visualizing the structure and coordinating all the internal and external aspects of each canopy.  Encotech produced highly detailed construction drawings in order to effectively communicate the complex framing for these structures. Encotech also submitted our design and analysis models and calculations for intense scrutiny by third-party review.  The result is a tight, well-coordinated set of documents that helped allow the contractor to open the project early and finish under budget.