As part of a master plan to integrate the former Brooks Air Force Base into the City of San Antonio, Brooks Development Authority and VIA Metropolitan Transit formed a partnership to bring mass transportation to the previously isolated area. The partnership focused on the development of an iconic design concept for a series of new bus shelters to be installed throughout the newly-formed Brooks City-Base. Working with both entities, the architects developed a unique formal language that not only references the site’s history, but also meets the requirements of VIA’s transit operations and supports both agencies’ commitment to an elevated design aesthetic.
The bus stop meets various programmatic requirements while bolstering the identity of Brooks City-base as it transitions from a military hub to a large scale, mixed-use development that supports research and technology. As a nod to the region’s Air Force history, the design of the bus stop relies upon a dynamic vocabulary of flight and lightness that is atypical for transit shelters, using two “wings” to form the shelter’s steel canopy. The wings provide shade and protection from the elements for bus passengers, while also funneling rainwater into a series of concealed gutters. Designed as a prototype, the shelter is comprised of five shop-fabricated steel sections bolted together on site, a process that simplifies construction and eliminates costly field-welding. At a total wingspan of 32’, the scissor steel canopy is made of a series of parallel steel tubes individually cradled by a sheet of corrugated steel deck.
The tubes extend in two 14’-6” cantilevers from the shelter’s vertical supports. Meanwhile, the monolithic concrete bench serves as a structural grade beam. Additional features include an integral bus route display and on-site passenger information system, accommodations for disabled patrons, and a cart corral for patrons of the adjacent shopping center. The concrete bench features individual seats at varied levels in order to discourage overnight use, while durable anti-graffiti paint enables easy cleaning. Inexpensive, low-maintenance LED lighting illuminates the shelter, creating a safe and inviting environment during evening service hours.