Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects [LOHA]

Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects [LOHA]

Los Angeles, CA


Big Blue Bus Stops

LOHA’s visually striking Big Blue Bus Stops serve as iconic urban markers for the City of Santa Monica and elevate the impact of one of the most critical transportation lines in Southern California’s rapidly expanding public transit network.

The City of Santa Monica engaged Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA] to revamp the Big Blue Bus system’s stops, in order to provide a consistent visual identity that would enhance the streetscape and connect with both local residents and international visitors. LOHA, teaming with Bruce Mau Design, reinterpreted the conventional bus stop to create a new, engaging vocabulary for public transportation.

Integrating research on Southern California climate and public transportation statistics, LOHA analyzed the varying conditions of the 300 existing stops, in terms of each site’s scale, rider volume, proximity to significant underground utilities, and adjacent business sight lines.

By distilling the standard bus shelter motif to its most fundamental elements, LOHA designed a highly flexible, modular system of components, which allowed for precise, tailored configurations that easily adapted to each bus stop. The project’s staged roll-out and kit-of-parts approach allows for ongoing adjustments and future customizations to each site.

The universal application of a striking blue color palette, incorporated into all of the concept’s built elements and bold graphics, created a system of iconic markers, which aesthetically elevate the urban fabric and improve evolving perceptions of public transportation in the Los Angeles metropolitan region.

LOHA’s synthesis of design and technology resulted in a model for sustainable urban development. Recycled and locally sourced materials were used throughout the project; the shade canopy, pole, and seats are made of 100% recycled steel. The illuminated circular canopies are embedded with small solar panels, supplying power to the LED high-efficiency light fixtures. GPS-based technologies provide real-time schedule information at select high-volume stops and soon, through a smart-phone app.

The successful Big Blue Bus Stop redevelopment project is part of LOHA’s body of work that reconsiders elements of public infrastructure to create innovative strategies for redefining and enhancing the built environment through enlightened architecture and urban design.

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Status: Built
Location: Santa Monica, CA, US
Additional Credits: Photography: Lawrence Anderson