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This CAF Newhouse 2011 project (#344) has been awarded First Grand prize

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Due to rapid increase in population and shift towards urban migration, a rising trend across the world for mass transit. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a cost-effective and efficient way to move people through their cities. BRT is less permanent and less expensive that rail systems (like the EL), and can move people just as effectively in many cities. Chicago has already brought one route of BRT (the Jeffrey Jump) to the city as an experiment, and is planning two additional routes along the Western and Ashland corridors.

Unlike typical bus stops, BRT stops are meant to be less frequent along routes, making the commute faster and accommodate more people. It is up to you to design how this new type of transit shelter will function and protect passengers from the weather and provide information and other amenities while they are waiting. Other amenities may important to include with the shelter can be a secure bike storage or a ‘Share-a-Bike’ station such as “the Divvy” in Chicago, a place or screen that provides relevant information. A shelter is a structure that we may take for granted, but BRT shelters also have the potential to make our daily lives easier while also significantly impacting the way our streets look.

Define problem

  • Design a BRT intersection (in group): Configure BRT and other vehicular and non-vehicular lanes and sidewalks. Design the intersection to move pedestrians and bikes to the BRT shelter.
  • Design a BRT shelter (individually) to accommodate minimum of 25 people

Take into consideration

For the Intersection:

  • Amount of vehicular traffic,
  • Amount of pedestrian and other non-vehicular traffic
  • Estimated frequency for the BRT
  • Estimated riders at the location
  • Adjacent uses

For the BRT shelter:

  • Ticket or Point of Pay location
  • Ease of loading and unloading
  • Weather protection
  • Safety
  • Place or method for providing information
  • Connectivity to other mode of transport such as bikes, walking etc
  • Energy and roof drainage
  • Other amenities

Provide information about the intersection/stop selected; 63rd and Jeffrey, 35th and Ashland, including drawings..

Supplemental documents can be found here.

Bus shel·ter (noun)
A building or other structure constructed near a bus stop, to provide seating and protection from the weather for the convenience of waiting passengers.

The dictionary definition of a bus shelter is to provide passengers waiting to ride the bus with a place for protection. It is supposed to be a bus SHELTER, hence the word 'shelter.' The main problem with current bus shelters in Chicago is that they do not provide enough protection from the weather. Chicago is known nation-wide for our intense weather. One day it will be hot and sunny, but the next day could be freezing cold and snowy. Peoples' lives continue even during bad weather. Bus shelters should be a safe haven, a place where you can escape the inconvenience of the weather. Not only is a bus shelter a place to wait for the bus, but it is also viewed by everyone. It is an element of the Chicago landscape; Therefore, bus shelters should emphasize the beauty of art, while providing an enjoyable place to wait for the bus.

My design has evolved from a basic, rectangular bus shelter design into an abstract work of art. The concept of the bus shelter is a wave. My inspiration for the bus shelter I designed came from the painting called 'The Great Wave.' I looked at the painting, which is hung in my house, and I automatically knew I wanted my bus shelter to look like that.


lol u sit next to me

Yeah you do! :]

i like the ideas you have for the shelter but you should really work on getting some sketches up to show your ideas visually

Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, I'm currently working on sketches as well as the model. I have to organize all of my ideas.

Emily It's a great start NOW finish! Don't let your "neighbors" distract you.

This is really good emily

thank you :D

Emily you rock! Can I say that? Yes I can because you do! I'm going to show your project to my Seniors maybe it'll inspire them to finish strong. Go for the video, ask for help if you need it. How about some people in final design? How many people does your bus shelter accomodate?

Thanks for entering the 2011 CAF Newhouse Architecture Competition! Until the judges have completed evaluating all student projects, you are temporarily blocked from accessing your account or working on this project. Please check back sometime after May 26 for the competition results. Good luck!

Excellent job articulating the problems of the current shelters, and how to solve them. The movable elements might be a problem, as, honestly, they would probably be stolen as soon as they went in. Such a large shelter is a good idea for high-traffic locations, like outside of a high school where you've shown it. And it's got a unique design as well. Nicely done.

An extremely creative submission. Well researched and well executed. Your concept is exciting, functional and becomes an important landmark on the street. Well done.

You have done a great job of documenting your design process, and have developed a very creative solution to the design challenge. Congratulations on a great project.

Congratulations!  Your project has been awarded a First Grand Prize by the 2011 Newhouse Architecture Competition jury yesterday.  To celebrate your awesome work, we’re including this project as a ‘Featured Student Project’ on the website.  It will now appear in the sidebar of the Student Gallery and on the homepage in the rotating queue. 
Share this link to your project with your friends on your Facebook page! 
Don’t forget to bring your family with you to the awards ceremony and exhibition opening on the evening of Thursday, June 2. (Details will follow in an email.)  You can also visit the Robert Morris University Gallery between now and June 11 to see your project on display along with all the student projects.  Congrats again!

Curious about the Collect Info step of this bus shelter design problem? >>

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The re-branded CTA BRT route, the Jeffery Jump

In this step of the design process, you’ll want to gather as much information as possible about different types of shelters, from regular bus shelters to train shelters. How are they different? How do people use them? Since BRT is new to Chicago, you’ll also want to look at BRT stations that have been designed in other countries. Interview bus riders about how they use the current type of bus shelter and what is missing in their design.

Think About

  • Start off the project by analyzing what you already know about container architecture and container housing with a quick pre-test.
  • What are the basic functions and design elements of any bus shelter?
  • What materials are these shelters made from?
  • How could current bus shelters be scaled up to accommodate more people and longer wait times?
  • What are some things that you really like or hate about Chicago’s current bus shelters?

 Try This

  • Make a list of all the different features on an existing Chicago bus shelter.  Explain what you’ve learned and post information the information in this step.
  • Learn about the BRT system. How does it work? How are the station locations determined? What makes a BRT system different than a regular bus route?
  • Use Flickr and Google Images to search "BRT shelter." Research different types of bus stops and shelters in different cities around the world. How are these different than regular bus shelters?
  • Use Google Maps to view and print out an aerial photograph of your intersection. How far away is the stop from the street corner? How far away should it be?
  • Interview several of your friends and classmates about what they like or hate about the bus shelters you typically use. 
  • Check out this Chicago Tribune article from architecture critic Blair Kamin about the 2003 design of Chicago's bus shelters by a French company.
  • This blog about bus shelter designs have some very interesting ideas from all over the world.

emdones26's work for the Collect Information step:

As I Interviewed people around Chicago on their views of Chicago bus shelters, I discovered mixed feelings towards bus shelters. Combining all of my interviews, I generated these statistics:
Out of 25 people interviewed, 76% rate bus shelters less than 5, on a scale of 1 to 10 (ten being the best)
24% rate bus shelters between 6 and 8
4% rate bus shelters 9
0% rate bus shelters 10

These results identify the hate people feel towards the current bus shelters.
Question: How do you feel about bus shelters? What is wrong with them?

"I feel bus shelters in Chicago do not even exist, simple to the point. There are not enough in Chicago."
-Anthony, 17
"I absolutely hate waiting; I have no patience. The seats at a bus shelter are so uncomfortable, and there aren't enough!"
-Helen, 49
"What a waste of space. They are not beneficial to the environment whatsoever. Why waste space with inefficient materials?"
-James, 21
"I take about 4 buses a day plus a train. I wish it would was more entertaining while waiting for the bus. And don't get me started waiting in the freezing Chicago cold."
-Lori, 36

When analyzing the results of my survey, I considered everyones opinion with bus shelters. Majority of Chicago-ins want an enclosed shelter that can withstand intense weather, an entertaining shelter with technology to pass the time, and an area that is large enough to hold a myriad of people. I Incorporated these main needs into my design, trying to satisfy the whole public.
An ideal place to construct a new bus shelter would be on Addison and Artesian, just outside Lane Tech High School. There are four-thousand students at Lane Tech, which means bus shelters are very crowded after school. There currently is not a bus shelter on Addison and Artesian, but building one in that location would benefit high school students commuting home. The bus shelter can hold up to 25 people, maximizing the total space. When asking students how they felt about a new, modern bus shelter outside of Lane Tech, most were happy to say it would be relieving to have one because standing outside in the cold is painful. Students at Lane Tech support the idea of building a new bus shelter.

Curious about the Brainstorm Ideas step of this bus shelter design project? >>

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A TransMilenio Station in Bogotá, Colombia

In the this step of the design process, you’ll want put some early ideas down on paper that show what you've found in the Collect Info step.  You also might take more photos to show specific new ideas you have. 

Make some early decisions about the location, size, features, and materials for your BRT shelter. Draw a hand sketch to help you puzzle through new ideas.

Try This

  • Identify a location for your BRT shelter on your site near your intersection. Mark this location on a map and think about its proximity to other bus stops, rail stations, or other points of interest near this intersection.
  • Based on what you learned in the Collect Information, make a list of all the features you'd like to have in your design. Edit this list into ‘necessities’ and ‘nice to have’ categories.
  • Using a tape measure and some masking tape, mark out some different footprint options for the shelter. How many people do you need to accommodate? How much space should each person get? How does this compare with the size of a regular bus shelter?  Explain your thinking in the description of your project.
  • Draw several quick sketches to get your early ideas down on paper.  Either take a photo or scan and then upload your sketches to your project account.  These don’t need to be your final ideas. 
  • Consider what materials the shelter will be made from: what materials will be durable against the weather and the riders who wait there?

emdones26's work for the Brainstorm Ideas step:

This is 'The Great Wave.' It is the inspiration for my bus shelter.

At first I wanted to build a dome-like model, such as this picture.

This is an early sketch up brainstorming process. I built several different rough drafts of bus shelters.

This sketch illustrates the different objects I drew to help me decide on a shape. I originally thought a dome was best.

This sketch of the bus shelter I decided to create shows how it looks like a wave.

Another sketch of the wave bus shelter. This is an outside view sketch

This is an early sketch up design of the chosen wave bus shelter.

As I sat in my room trying to figure out what bus shelter to design, I drew random objects on a piece of paper to help me. Circles, squares, pentagons, octagons, rectanglels, spheres- I drew what ever came to my mind. This brainstorming process resulted in a great idea for a bus shelter: a wave design. I wanted to make something different; therefore, I developed my idea from a famous painting titled, 'The Great Wave.'
A List of Chicago bus shelter pro's and con's follows:

Chicago Bus Shelter Cons
 Not enough seats
 Uncomfortable seats
 Very boring waiting for the bus
 Not environmentally friendly
 The seat gets wet when it rains
 Ugly design
 It is very cold in the winter
 Very hot in the summer
 The bus schedule is unknown
 Too much graffiti
 No where to put trash
 Not wheelchair accessible

Chicago Bus Shelter Pros
 Map
 Surrounded by glass, easy to see the bus coming

New Ideas for a Bus Shelter
 Cushion seats
 screen/TV
 Solar panels
 Beautiful design
 Map
 Trashcan
 Advertisement
 Back/Front entrance (very open)
 Enclosed to handle bad weather
 Announcements for the incoming bus
 Bus tracker
 CTA loading card machine
 Heating lamps/cooling fans

Curious about the Develop Solutions step of this bus shelter design project? >>

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Now's the time to take what you've learned from the steps above to develop your solution for a BRT shelter.

Important! Since DiscoverDesign is about investigating the design process, the other people viewing your project - other students around the country, your teacher, and mentors - want to see how your ideas have changed over time. This means that while you're working on your digital model, you’ll want to be sure to keep re-saving it with a new file name every few days as you work through the steps.

Draw a sketch or use software such as Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, or Revit to illustrate your ideas.  You can upload photos (JPG files) from your SketchUp model, video fly throughs (FLV files) of your SketchUp model, or drawings (DWF files) from AutoCAD.

Try to include

  • One site plan
  • One floor plan
  • At least two elevation or perspective views

Try This

You may use any method you'd like to show your design (pencil, colored pencil, collage, physical models, or digital rendering software).  Here are a few suggestions for drawings and models of your BRT shelter:

  • Use cardboard or cardstock to build a rough physical study model or prototype of your shelter. You can't really understand the shape of the shelter until you make a quick study model. Don't worry about making a fancy finished model at this time. Instead, use cardstock, scissors, and tape to quickly create the large 3D form. See how it looks. Break off different sections, add new pieces, and try new ideas. Take photos of your model and upload them to this step.
  • Sketch or use software such as Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, or Revit to get the ideas out of your head to share with others.

emdones26's work for the Develop Solutions step:

The design of my shelter does not take up too much space.

An elevation view of my design on AutoCAD.

The first rendering of the inside of my bus shelter. As you can see, I encountered problems with the lighting.

The wave bus shelter is based on a real wave. I artistically design a wave shape to emphasize the beauty of water.

Green features are a must for my bus shelter. I placed solar panels on the roof of the shelter.

A view of the inside of the bus shelter. There are three benches to sit on as well as two movable stools.

I sit and wait at a bus stop at least two times a day. When developing solutions for the current bus shelter, I thought about the problems I go through everyday. The main issue is the weather. Because it is freezing during the winter, I created an enclosed bus shelter. An enclosed bus shelter is also beneficial with rainy weather. Standing outside in the pouring rain is not fun at all, which is why my bus shelter is an enclosed area.

The wave bus shelter includes large glass windows to see an incoming bus. I thought windows are a must for a bus shelter, in order to not only see a bus but to not feel trapped in a little box. I also thought solar panels would be ideal to power the television and CTA card loader/ATM machine and the lights. The lights are energy efficient, saving has much energy as possible. There are movable stools located inside the bus shelter, as well as three large benches. I estimate 25 people can fit in the bus shelter. Because I am a big supporter of green features, my bus shelter is made out of recyclable materials. The doors are automatic because with people rushing back and forth, who has time to open a door? There is also a back entrance to the bus shelter. I designed my bus shelter to maximize time and space, while not being too large for the environment.

Curious about the Final step of this bus shelter design problem? >>

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A unique station on the world's first BRT system in Curitiba, Brazil.

The final step of the design process is to create more finished drawings that illustrate your ideas to others. Remember, your explanation text and the types of drawings, images, and models you share need to tell the whole story of your project to someone who may or may not have ever visited your site or even your city.

Continue to collect feedback from your peers, teachers and the online community to help you improve on your final design. Be sure to review and add constructive comments on the work of your classmates and other students who are solving the same design problem. If your ideas change, be sure to explain your thinking and let others know about the new work you have posted to your account.

You might want to share floor plans, elevations, renderings of your digital model, photos of a physical model, or a video animation of your model.

  • Review your design and test it against your original sucess statement that you wrote for the Overview. Does it meet this criteria?
  • Make a list of your ideas, sketches, and study models. For your final design you will want to write and post a short but effective paragraph of your process and the unique solutions you found developed. Tell us about your ideas.
  • Your teacher and architectural mentors will be looking for these things:
    1. originality in your design
    2. your ability to creatively solve the design challenge
    3. the quality of images, sketches, drawings, and models you have uploaded in each of the five design process steps (Overview, Collect Info, Brainstorm Ideas, Develop Solutions, and Final Design).
    4. As your ideas change, be sure to explain your thinking and let others know about the new work you have posted to your account. Go back to the virtual drawing board and revise your project based on the feedback of others.
    5. how well you have written about and explained your thinking in each of the design process steps

emdones26's work for the Final Design step:


A front view of my final design


This is a side view of my bus shelter.


Top view. Notice the trashcan in the corner to lessen the amount of garbage.


An inside view.


Final design of the outside view.

My final design solves many current Chicago bus shelter problems.
1. Space: The wave bus shelter can seat a large amount of people, and it there is also standing room space inside. The outside also provides standing room for people. Current bus shelters only contain one bench, while mine contains three.
2. Entertainment: Many people are very bored waiting for the bus. The wave bus shelter contains a television that can easily pass the time.
3. Time: Time is definitely maximized with the new and improved bu shelter. With automatic doors, you can rush inside to put money on your bus card and have time to spare. There are speakers located outside and inside that tell you when the next bus is coming.
4. Enjoyment on the eyes: Chicago bus shelters look ugly and plain. The wave bus shelter looks pretty, designed to look like a beautiful wave. All around Chicago you will see the pretty wave design of a bus shelter.
5. Graffiti: In order to handle the graffiti many bus shelters face, the walls are designed with a special material that can fight against graffiti. Chicago hoodlums are no match for the bus shelter graffiti-resistant walls.

In conclusion, the new bus shelter is an innovative design that will benefit society as a whole for the future. It is abstractly created, providing a nice place to sit down and wait for the bus. I designed it to help commuters feel a little happier while waiting for the bus. Sitting in a dreary, old, plain Chicago bus shelter is not fun at all; it actually ruins the start if my day. The wave bus shelter is a delightful place that will hopefully put a smile on Chicago commuters faces.

Thanks for looking at my design!