The LaBiche Architectural Group, Inc.
7999 Gladys Avenue, #101, Beaumont, TX 77706
Total Square Feet: 6,000
Construction Period: Dec 1999 to Oct 2000
General Contractor: Neild Construction & Development Corp. - PO Box 2161, Beaumont, TX 77704
Structural Engineer: Fittz & Shipman, Inc. - 440 North 18th Street, Beaumont, TX 77702
Electrical & Mechanical Engineer: Levingston Engineers, Inc. - 510 South Cities Service Hwy., Sulfur, LA 70665
As downtown preservation and revitalization becomes a major part of city renewal efforts, more and more municipal clients seek to build unique buildings with ties to their downtown's past. Such was the design problem when the City of Beaumont, Texas sought to build its new central bus transfer on an odd shaped lot in downtown. Its neighbor was an old train station that had been converted to an office building. The new station needed to be respectful of the surrounding historic architecture, but be progressive enough to respond to the city's transit needs. The new station, named for a long time city activist, needed to provide shelter from the region's inclement weather so that patrons could transfer and wait between buses in a comfortable atmosphere. It also had to provide restroom facilities to replace the portable restroom being used on site. In addition the complete facility needed to be handicap accessible.
The design of the facility responds to all the needs and is respectful of place and character. The design follows the triangular shape of the property. All three bus-loading areas stand parallel to the adjacent roadways making for ease of access for bus arrival and departure. Patrons are protected by curbs and bollards, which parallel the arrival points. Wide overhangs cover loading zones to protect patrons from rain. These overhangs also respond to regional designs, which offer protection under umbrella type roofs. The openness of the facility allows seasonal winds to flow through the waiting areas as well as allowing the facility to be easily viewed by nightly security patrols. The brick columns, with special shapes that accent the base and capitals, vary in height and size to respond to the correct proportions from human to vehicular scale. Their placement responds to the activities in their vicinity. The texture, shape and color of the masonry takes you back to the days of the 1900's train stations. The metal brackets at the column capitals are also reminiscent of the wooden roof brackets of the early stations. The brackets terminate on the columns into a crest outline of the city's seal. A metal soffit system and metal roof supported on structural steel and light gauge metal trusses cover the columns.
The restroom component is located in the center of the site between transfer points. It contains two men and women's restrooms, all of which are accessible. Centered between the restrooms is a mechanical room, which contains the operating components of the restrooms. The operating parts of the toilets are in this room for ease of maintenance and protection from vandals. The walls of the restrooms are concrete block topped with a coat of plaster on lath to which the ceramic tile is attached. The patterns and colors of the tile were taken from documents outlining the finishes of the 1900's train stations. The fixtures are stainless steel that are used in correctional facilities. Combining these components affords an easily cleanable and vandal resistant restroom. The western facing facade contains two message boards and public drinking fountains.
The site furniture was selected for its transparent profile and durability. The benches are provided with arm rests between each seat to discourage patrons from using them as beds. The facility was also provided with matching trash receptacles. The color matches the metal roof panels and metal brackets throughout the project.
Exterior Walls - Face Brick: Acme Brick; Street Furniture: Landscape Forms.
Roof - Standing Seam: VicWest Steel.
Floors - Quarry Tile: Dal-Tile.
Interior Walls - Concrete Block: Featherlite Building Materials; Ceramic Faced Tile: Dal-Tile; Soffit Panels: VicWest.