Ripple Effect: New San Francisco Bus Shelters Go Solar

SAN FRANCISCO (CA, USA)—The first of 1,200 new, sustainably designed transit shelters have been installed in neighborhoods throughout San Francisco, the product of a joint project by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. The shelters feature an undulating, wave-form roof made with 40 percent post-industrial recycled content; in one-third of the locations, the roof will house a solar array panel that is laminated into the wave form. Made specifically for San Francisco, the visually arresting roof is an abstraction of a seismic wave, according to Olle Lundberg, principal of Lundberg Design, the San Francisco architectural firm that won the competition among 35 firms to design the new shelters. “But the nice thing is that people have been coming up with their own interpretations—a ribbon fluttering, the Muni logo stretched, the San Francisco hills or surf,” commented Lundberg. So far, five new shelters are operational, in the Richmond, Mission, and Financial districts, in Union Square, and at City Hall. The program calls for their complete installation over the next five years.

The new shelters are larger and roomier than their predecessors and provide more information, including NextMuni and Push to Talk (for customers with low vision) technologies, and wireless Internet access. Additionally, the new shelters have more green features: long-lasting, energy-efficient LED lights, recycled steel, and 40 percent post-industrial recycled content in each roof panel. Lundberg Design used tough materials—tempered glass, galvanized metal, stainless steel and layered polycarbonate—to help the shelters withstand both weathering and graffiti. Overhead lights provide increased safety and identification.

3Form of Salt Lake City, UT, in collaboration with photovoltaic film manufacturer Konarka, developed the proprietary Building Integrated Photovoltaic technology to allow the lamination of the solar array between layers of undulating polycarbonate. 3Form is fabricating all the roof panels with final assembly of the shelters completed by Clear Channel Outdoor in San Francisco.

Lundberg Design is working closely with PG&E, the local utility company, to analyze the feasibility of solar panels on a per-location basis; exposure to sun, available connection to the power grid and shelter size are all determining factors. Wind-powered shelters may be considered at select locations if the technology proves to be feasible. All the shelters will be grid-tied, feeding any excess energy produced during the day into the grid and drawing from the grid at night.

Clear Channel is paying for 100 percent of the shelters. The SFMTA will receive 55 percent or a minimal annual guarantee payment of the advertising revenue generated, whichever number is higher. There is no financial burden on the SFMTA or its customers. Lundberg Design’s prototype was selected from numerous entries submitted by architectural and advertising firms from around the world. Lundberg emphasized that his firm’s design was specific to San Francisco and would not be appropriate anywhere else.

About Lundberg Design
Lundberg Design, founded in 1984, works for private and commercial clients throughout the United States. In 1996, the firm designed Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s San Francisco residence and has continued to work for individuals and corporations seeking a reflection of their own individuality. Lundberg Design has its own dedicated, 4,000 square foot metal fabrication facility for custom design work and experimentation. All of the design work is centered on the qualities of materials—how they can be plied, molded, bent and cut to produce a visual and tactile result. Recent project work includes The Moss Room at The Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Hourglass Blueline Estate in Napa Valley, Heaven’s Dog, a new restaurant for famed restaurateur and chef Charles Phan, and The Slanted Door at San Francisco’s Ferry Building.

Photo Credits: Ryan Hughes

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1 Comment

  1. Love these shelters. And when people can interpret the design in their own way is fun. Speaking of interpretation, if one looks at the new Pepsi logo, it looks like a fat white belly sticking out between a shirt and pants. Fitting I guess.

    Back to Lundberg: It is too bad that the moss in The Moss Room died. According to a server there, the lights installed were the wrong ones and killed off the moss, either too much or too little of the right light. Now it is slate shingles from an old barn with ferns growing out of them. So will it become The Fern Room?

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