Service recently began in the San Bernardino valley on the first bus rapid transit system in the county. Omnitrans, a public transportation agency, sought Gruen Associates working under Parsons Transportation Group to design and develop stations along the Green Line for the San Bernardino Express (sbX), which connects diverse communities in two cities to centers of commerce, services, and local universities.
Known as an architecture firm that transforms communities, Gruen Associates accepted the challenge. At the most basic level, the stops needed to provide shelter from the strong winds and the California sun. But the designers also wanted to tie the communities together and create a timeless design the residents could be proud of for decades. Gruen worked with Omnitrans and local user groups to develop a design that connects communities metaphorically as well as physically. Designers envisioned shelters that would create a sense of movement while referencing the shapes of the surrounding San Bernardino Mountains with undulating shapes and angles of the shelter canopies.
After realizing the complex angles and compound curves would not be viable in glass, the firm sought a new material and a vendor. On a tight deadline for installation, Gruen reached out to 3form for a strong, formable material that was weather resistant. The complexity of the angles on the canopies required customization and accuracy.
Within weeks of obtaining Gruen’s drawings, 3form built 34 custom molds to fit the complex angles on all 16 transit canopies, then the 3form fabrication team extruded 400 custom-sized Koda XT panels, molded custom aluminum channels around each piece to achieve the desired aesthetic and shipped off the panels to meet the tight installation timeline. The new bus stops touch the lives of thousands and create a striking aesthetic throughout the valley. ”We knew that 3form was the right company for this job,” said Jill Wagner, Associate Partner at Gruen Associates. “Working with 3form enhanced the design process and the end result realizes our vision in a way that added value to the project.”