Glass Tube

Dulles Airport’s Aerotrain’s stations has a special element, glass enclosure for the train tunnels.

The AeroTrain at Dulles International Airport in Virginia was opened Jan. 26, 2010. This was one of their improvement planning and construction projects (more than $3 billion since 2001) that brought a significant change in passenger’s experience of the terminal. It may elongate the trip to a flight with different levels for gates and security checkpoints, but the pictures and walkthrough videos on Youtube seem to be delightful and fast (42 mph for max. speed and only 2 minutes wait time with 72 seconds for travel time between stations) as far as I can see.

You can find more information about the Dulles Airport’s Transformation projects:

http://www.metwashairports.com/2540.htm

http://dcmud.blogspot.com/2011/02/transforming-dulles.html

It is interesting to see the different takes on the stations from different design firms with similar concept I would like to call, ‘glass tube.’ Responsible architects are SOM: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (Main Terminal Station), HOK: Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (Concourse A-B Train Station), KPF: Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (Concourse C East Train Station), and HNTB Corporation (Tunnels and Vehicle Maintenance Facility).

As one can see from the pictures, these glass enclosure for train tunnels is very clean, minimal and see-thru transparent! Typical automated sliding doors on train stations usually don’t look pleasant due to all the supporting hardware, signage, maintenance and safety reason like the image below.

Even from the train car view, interior of the glass tunnels are consistently clean and all the hardware and doors are designed flushed like in the linked YouTube video above and the photo below

I am not quiet sure about the whole experience of the space, but as far as floating-like translucent floor glass panel bridge and translucent glass enclosure of trains go, the Main Terminal Station by SOM looks really nice- especially when they are lit. You can find more great photos on Flickr.

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