A multi-modal hub is a complex and highly concentrated urban architectural design. It is a building built to bring people and transportation infrastructure into contact.
While the hub’s main purpose is to facilitate transfers, it also provides commercial outlets and services to travelers. The hub is a place to gather as it simultaneously assembles and mixes multiple mobility flows and makes a systemic impact on its broader environment.
Hubs function to organize accessibility and commuter patterns, but also organize a de-facto central place in the area. This scale continuously negotiates between the architectural and urban. By their size and intensity of use, these buildings have a structuring potential for the city.
In this section, research and design work for Jamaica bus terminal in Queens, New York for the Fourth Regional Plan of the Regional Plan Association illustrate connective and rehabilitating potential for under-serviced and disconnected areas of the city.
The Capping of the Ring in Antwerp is a city-wide project to create hubs and stitches while capping the highway which encircles Antwerp. It’s several billion-dollar projects that enter industrial, commercial, and residential landscapes, touching all aspects of daily life for Antwerpers.
The Antwerp project illustrates how transportation needs at different points in the city require different interventions to bring the best out of an overall system. The urban mobility plan includes the proposal of four mobility hubs in Berchem, Schijnport, Zuid Station, Luchtbal, and Oosterweelknoop.
BERCHEM MULTIMODAL HUB
The Berchem story is about making space and connection. Currently, the station does not have enough space for it’s needs, and is under pressure to expand. The layout of the station is not optimal, causing wasted space and disconnection of functions. The capping of the ring provides an opportunity to design public space that will facilitate connections for the station, across the current highway. It also allows for an adjustment in the location of the station, as new space will be available.
Antwerp Berchem station has between 15.000 and 30.000 passengers per weekday, and double that amount when including bicycle, tram, and bus users.
The route plan 2030 expects nearly double as many passengers at Berchem station. Additionally, a great number of buses will use the station as a terminus servicing the outer areas of Antwerpen. The current station and the reyckaertssquare does not have enough space to facilitate all the new bus stops and longer tram stops. Also, is the small passage to the tracks asymmetrical orientated to the train platforms.
The spatial requirements for drop-off and pick-up or boarding for a growing spectrum of traffic modes lead to increasing spatial needs, as a result of which programs drift farther and farther apart. The art of designing a hub is keeping functions integrated. The new station will not only make an exchange between the different modes easy but also act as a new connection between extra-intra modes.
The design for the hub is made to extend and shift with use needs over time. These new Intermodal hub projects must be flexible enough to accommodate the variety of current uses while allowing for future changes in technology.
SCHIJNPOORT MULTIMODAL HUB
In Schijpoort the current exposed highway divides two neighborhoods, Deurne and Borgerhout. The area also holds the Sportpaleis event center as well as a river making access and traffic a key part of this location. The sportspaleis attracts intense traffic during events putting pressure on parking spaces and accessibility for residents and attendees. Infrastructure to allow for light transport and pedestrian crossing of the river, as well as water access infrastructure, will provide key quality of life measures for the existing boundaries of the site.
Capping the highway allows for a connection and development of city fabric and public space. Hardscape can be greened and softened, and local neighborhoods, can come together and share the ring park. The existing neighborhoods will be able to grow, without some of the problems from the current infrastructure, such as air quality, sound quality, disconnection and lack of green public space.
Schijnpoort is a place for events but it’s also much more. Its existing neighborhoods and proximity to water make it a desirable place to live, especially with augmented and enjoyable public space.
A mobility hub at the Shijnpoort station will increase mobility flows in a design that is flexible to event related increased inflows, while supporting multiple modes of transportation through improved infrastructure, such as dedicated lanes.
A wider parkspace will include a Berm landscape and a new bike bridge connecting Schijnpoortweg. This project, like other Ring sites was defined through SCRUM sessions, a stakeholder process that curates the design values of the participants and makes for a co-creation of the space.