since its very beginning, san francisco’s urban transit has secured a place in the world’s most recognized transportation systems, evolving with the times to accommodate an ever-increasing and faster-moving population through a variety of media. international firm pelli clarke pelli has designed the transbay transit center that promises to catapult the city amongst one of the leading infrastructural networks in the world. the 4.5 acre project, currently under construction, will manage the crossing of all transit systems above and below ground and contribute to the city’s green public space, with an expected completion in 2017.


with a total built area of 1.5 million square feet covering 5 blocks in downtown san francisco, the multimodal transit station will link together 11 different systems improving the city’s local and national communication. angled steel columns support the undulating translucent interior lifted off the ground. a 5.4 acre rooftop park will provide the community with green public space, a 1000-person amphitheater, cafe, children’s playground, art and educational cultural activities within a mixed ecology of plants and animals native to the bay area.

transbay transit center transforms san francisco by pelli clarke pelli
view from the street level
image © pelli clarke pelli



in the five levels below, including two underground, visitors can enjoy a variety of interior and exterior plazas and light airy spaces illuminated by large glass domes. a clear logic separates the transit systems on each level to improve the efficiency and safety of interchanges.  commercial retail and gastronomical functions will invigorate the street level and make the transport hub an urban destination. as of recently, the undulating fritted glass facade underwent a design change due to safety and budget concerns, now rendered in metal mesh panels that may use different scale perforations to incorporate a visually educational element to the exterior.



the 4.2 billion dollar project is expected to create 125,000 new jobs in the area and is projected to generate $87 billion dollars in gross revenue through 2030. serving 45 million passengers per year, the improved public transport sector will reduce CO2 emissions by 1.4% statewide (reducing 36,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the rail extension alone) and is on track to receive a LEED gold rating. you can watch a daily time-lapse of the construction process here, as they are installing the temporary hub before replacing it with the permanent project described above.