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Phase 1 of the new Second Avenue Subway line, with spacious, column-free stations, sets a new precedent for transportation design in New York City. The new underground stations, at 96th, 86th, and 72nd Streets, along with the rehabilitation and expansion of the existing Lexington Avenue/63rd Street F line station, have clear sightlines, light-colored finishes, and tempered air. Our team served as prime consultant to MTA Capital Construction for the architectural and engineering design of the new line, planned to be completed in four phases. Design work included concepts and preliminary design for all four phases, and concept through final design of the initial Phase. A consistent design language was established through the use of system-wide elements, overall civic quality, as well as a limited material palette, including exposed concrete, large-scale porcelain ceramic tile, granite, stainless steel, and porcelain enamel. Integrating the architectural-structural-smoke management approach enabled the increase of the overall spatial volume, creating an open, expansive feel. There are several types of station entrances: standalone street canopies, as well as storefront entrances recessed within both existing buildings and new street level ancillary buildings. The use of materials and detailing throughout—glazed canopies, sidewalls, storefronts, and granite basewalls—together form a consistent architectural language. The ancillary buildings serve each station’s ventilation and smoke exhaust needs. Overall massing was maintained by matching adjacent building roof profiles. The façade design, composition and material selection formed a connection to materials and design features from the surrounding neighborhoods. We also developed a progressive strategy for the stations’ integration into the neighborhoods along Second Avenue. Special emphasis was placed on use of sustainable materials, and on the development of an overall “green” design strategy that reduces energy use. The project was awarded with the first New York Green Building Design Award.

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