January 1, 2010

Go, Big Blue: HOK Bus Depot

Public transit is the most sustainable way to roll. So, when the HOK office in Los Angeles tackled a City of Santa Monica maintenance facility, the firm knew that—regardless of the name Big Blue Bus—the depot had to be green.

Photovoltaic panels harness the sun, even as it’s reflected by the white PVC roofing. Pavement is high-albedo concrete, also a reflective surface with natural cooling properties. Up to 20 buses per day drive in and out of an equal number of repair bays that exploit natural light and ventilation. Building materials are high on recycled content; paint and other finishes are non-VOC. Low-flow plumbing fixtures and minimum-energy water heaters assume conservation duties inside. Outside, storm runoff is captured and filtered for irrigation.

The facade’s aluminum-framed glass laminated with liquid-crystal film.

The exterior of the 66,000-square-foot building is of course what most people will see: an aluminum storefront system framing a curved wall of cobalt blue. The glass is laminated with liquid-crystal film, which changes individual panels from frosted to transparent according to directives from a computer program. All the more reason to hop on the bus, Gus.

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