Check this out:
It’s the Salesforce Transit Center(!) in San Francisco. In August Jim Kunstler gave it his “Eyesore of the Month” award calling it a fitting tribute to Internet Narcissism Central. As if on cue the center was shut down and will be only partially reopened because of cracks in 2 of its enormous structural beams.
$2.2 billion and experts are saying that maybe the stresses of being a combination bridge, park, and elevated bus station were too complex to properly design the building. It could take months to understand why the cracks appeared and much longer, of course, to fix the problem(s). Who knows how long it will take to restore public confidence in the overall stability of the building?
The Salesforce Center can’t do much of anything that Springfield’s old Union Station doesn’t do, even after decades of total neglect, and without any fear of collapse. In comparison to the Bay Area terminal Union Station flip flops the trains and buses, elevating the trains instead of the buses and handling the buses at ground level. But it actually has trains. Today. Right now…
…unlike the Salesforce Center which is unlikely to see train service anytime before 2030. Union Station doesn’t have a park, but you could build a nice little one on the platform if you really wanted to, right here I suppose:
Here’s how Salesforce arches Fremont Street:
And this is Union Station crossing Main Street:
Here are some exterior shots of Union Station:
Union Station: 100 years old, neglected for 5 decades, works like a charm for cars, bikes, trains, and buses. Salesforce, with a 25x greater price tag is having trouble lasting a full year without bracing, and will only ever see trains if billions more are invested to tunnel into it.
Thank god for architecture. It’s hard to explain to people brainwashed by the cult of originality why so much of contemporary painting and sculpture is such absolute crap, but buildings have actual functions to perform; like staying up, keeping out water, and telling people where the entrances are. The inability to perform those functions even marginally well is a solid indicator that they are not the equals of those they came before.
As an aside, the wonderful work that was done in refurbishing the exterior and the atrium of the Union Station is undermined by the total lack of attention to the platform area. I understand that it is a working facility, but a lick of paint and taking a weed wacker to the giant hogweed would do wonders!