Raleigh Report

Abstract bus shelter design wins Raleigh competition

The abstract design submitted by Clark Nexsen of Raleigh.
The abstract design submitted by Clark Nexsen of Raleigh. ccioffi@newsobserver.com

The city has selected an angular design for future bus shelters across Raleigh.

The city, the Raleigh Transit Authority and Activate Triangle last fall launched a bus shelter design competition for the GoRaleigh transit system, which plans to place the winning shelter at bus stops across the city. The groups received designs from 11 firms.

After collecting public feedback, a jury of architects and transit officials on Thursday announced a design by Raleigh-based Clark Nexsen as the winner.

The company described its shelter as graphically intense and recognizable, incorporating sharp edges to resemble the triangular shapes in GoRaleigh’s branding. The shelter includes an integrated bicycle rack and a clear, acrylic panel on the back to protect riders from the weather.

“We wanted to take what is typically a background element in the urban landscape and bring it forward to celebrate public transportation,” said Albert McDonald, senior architect at Clark Nexsen.

Raleigh commuters are likely to see far more buses and bus shelters in the coming years. Wake County voters in November approved a sales tax referendum that will help pay for the Wake Transit Plan, which calls for new bus routes throughout the county.

The biggest changes are expected to come to Raleigh’s core. Planners intend to someday introduce dedicated bus lanes along Western Boulevard, Capital Boulevard, New Bern Avenue and Wilmington Street.

Clark Nexsen submitted a more angular, abstract shelter than the two other finalists, LS3P of Raleigh and Perkins and Will of Research Triangle Park. Each of the three finalists was given $4,000 to build prototypes in front of the Contemporary Art Museum in downtown Raleigh.

It’s unclear how many of the Clark Nexsen designs GoRaleigh will use, or how soon the company will install them. GoRaleigh has about a dozen shelters that it uses and will continue to use depending on which is the best fit for a specific bus stop, said Kelly Wright, a GoRaleigh spokeswoman.

The company has to consider several factors, such as the amount of available right-of-way, before choosing a design for each space, Wright said.

“It can take several months to process any bus shelter for placement,” she said.

The Clark Nexsen design, once installed, will look different than the prototype on display at the art museum, Wright said. A computer-generated image offers a more accurate glimpse at the winning design, she said.

“The rendering includes the updates made like the extended, roomier bench, added back panel for protection against weather elements (which is clear glass type material so hard to see), and (not shown in the rendering) the panel on the bus approaching side will be a perforated material so riders can see approaching buses,” Wright said in an email.

Paul A. Specht: 919-829-4870, @AndySpecht