Submission Deadline: May 22, 2019

2019 Steel Competition

Intermodal Transportation Center & Open


May 22, 2019

Submission Deadline

Summer 2019

Winners Announced

Fall 2019

Publication of Summary Book


Category I Intermodal Transportation Center

We thrive by mobility. Modes of movement, through networks in various scales: people, goods, and information, profoundly shaped contemporary cities, architecture, and the culture of human interaction. As globalism coincided with urbanization, mega-regions were made possible by intermodal transportation systems which link a series of metropolitan areas.

Intermodal Transportation. The movements of passengers or freight from an origin to a destination relying on several modes of transportation. Each carrier is issuing its own ticket (passengers) or contract (freight). The movements from one mode of transport to another is commonly taking place at a terminal specifically designed for such a purpose. Therefore, intermodal transportation in the literal sense refers to an exchange of passengers or freight between two transportation modes, but the term has become more commonly used for freight and container transportation across a sequence of modes. In North America, the term intermodal is also used to refer to containerized rail transportation.

By using complex multi-modal networks which involve the use of at least two different transportation modes, the forms of intermodal transport systems grow in capacity and advance in performance. These integrated networks enhance economic activity, but also provide an exciting opportunity for architecture to facilitate a critical element of connection between intermodal transport chains, articulation nodes.

An articulation node is a location that promotes the continuity of circulation in a transportation system by supporting transport chains and providing the added value that such flows require. It is an interface, a gateway, between different spatial systems (e.g. global market and regional economy) that includes terminal facilities, but also the numerous activities linked with these facilities. For passenger transport chains, this could involve hotels, parking lots, restoration, and access to local transportation. They tend to be simple in function.

The Design

Category I seeks to explore the convergence of two or more different modes of transportation systems within the urban context. The design should focus on a hub that synthesizes multiple transportation systems. The intermodal transportation center should respond to context as an infrastructural connection, environmental catalyst, and cultural identity. Significant design goals are:

  • Finding an innovative solution for the Articulation Node as part of an infrastructural network.
  • Creating a visible interpretation of urbanism to represent this intersection between two or more regions as a gateway.
  • Reinforcing architectural form by innovative uses of steel structure for the main terminal.
The Site

The intermodal transportation center should be located in an international/inter-regional geographic location within an urban context.  The site can be real or hypothetical and is selected by the Faculty Sponsor and/or the students. The criteria for selecting the project site include the following:

  • Size: The project is flexible in size, but it should be appropriate for the scale of transportation modes. Modern terminal infrastructures consequently require massive investments and are among the largest structures ever built.
  • Context: The project site should be located where two or more major transportation modes (air, land, or water) are adjacent or within a few city blocks. How could environmental design considerations in urban settings affect a design solution?
  • Access: The project site should have access to various public transit systems. How will the design of the ITC ensure that it becomes a link between the transportation chain and the urban fabric?

The site investigation should be a vital part of the masterplan.

The Project Scope
  • Masterplan includes regional scale drawings or diagrams to illustrate the site analysis, impact study of the Intermodal Transportation Center, and overall design intent, related to urban development plans.
  • Design the hub/transportation terminal and its amenities. The facility should be a center of interaction and a significant symbol of the cultures it serves.Design and carefully site the facility with economy and efficiency in mind.
  • Utilize the concepts of conservation and sustainability to reduce the building’s environmental impacts and energy consumption.
  • The project should be developed with an integrative approach to the innovative use of building materials and systems: space, structure, and enclosure.
The Program
  • The main transit terminals _ The Articulation Nodes(AN): This is a core space where passengers and/or freight will interchange seamlessly between in-bound and out-bound. The interrelated transportation hub [main terminal space] is a large scale and cohesive space which must include a long-span steel structure. The innovative superstructure will promote the concept of the AN. The powerful expression of architectural form is a key to represent the intersection between the regional character and cultural intervention within this unique program. The core terminal space will be a secured space with typical functional requirements; various seating areas, public amenities, service, and commercial spaces. The size of the AN should be larger than 500,000 square feet and up to 1.2 million square feet as the gross building area. Arrival: This is an intermediate function between the project and its context. The entrance should have a strong identity, concurrently respecting its surroundings. This should be situated where the public can visually experience the main terminal without passing the secure check points. The square footage of this space should be included in the main transit terminal.
  • Administrative Service & Support: Staff facilities, meeting spaces, and building support spaces. The square footage of this space should be included in the main transit terminal.
  • Local transit: This is a continuous connection to local transportation networks with secure check points. The space can be connected or separated from the entry sequence, but must be part of the main circulation. The square footage of this space should be included in the main terminal.
  • Community spaces: These spaces should be multi-purpose spaces such as conference space, galleries, various sizes of gathering spaces, and an information center. Convenience services such as a coffee shop, book store or other small retail should be included.  Spaces should be flexible and easily accessible from the entry sequence and transit service. The square footage of this space should be included in the main terminal.
  • Commercial spaces: A transportation center often serves as the city’s gateway for visitors and reflects the city’s heritage, people, and values. The new facility shall be composed of: Hotel, shopping, and/or identify needs for the context. The size should be larger than 200,000 square feet and up to 500,000 square feet.

Category II Open

The ACSA/AISC 2018-2019 Steel Design Student Competition offers architecture students the opportunity to participate in an open competition with limited restrictions. This category will allow the students (with the approval of the sponsoring faculty member) to select a site and building program.

  • The Category II program should be of equal complexity as the Category I program.
  • Students entering Category II must submit a written building program, including a brief description the building type, gross square footage and project location, along with the online submission in the Program Edits (copy/paste text box)

To enter the open competition, students may select any building occupancy other than transportation center. Students may not enter both categories of the competition.

Construction Type

The design project must be conceived in structural steel construction.  A strategy should be considered that evaluates a method for reducing overall construction cost using innovative methods of structure, fabrication, and construction.

Edwin Hernández
Programs Coordinator

Eric W. Ellis
ACSA, Director of Operations and Programs