Dallas, TX: By the end of 2012, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will complete their new Rowlett Blue Line light rail station. The 4.5 mile expansion extends the line from downtown Garland to downtown Rowlett. The effort is part of DART’s master plan to further serve the corridor northeast of Dallas. The Rowlett Station will be adjacent to the existing Rowlett Park and Ride facility.
KAI Texas designed the new Rowlett Station to support and accentuate the arts-in-transit initiative undertaken by DART (“D’Art Gallery”). Their intent is to elevate cultural pride by weaving artistic cultural narratives into the new station’s design.
“The station will showcase artistry inspired by Rowlett culture and history,” says Darren L. James, AIA, president of KAI Texas. “The community artwork will extend into the rail station’s 750-vehicle parking lot via a meandering garden art walk.” This detail adds depth and personality to elevate the station to more than a train and bus stop. Instead, it provides a unique destination; a sense-of-place distinctive to the Rowlett community.
As station architect for the design/build team selected by DART, KAI collaborated with residents, architects, engineers, designers and contractors to create an arboretum-like art walk that reflect the cultural essence of the Rowlett community. “The art walk design scheme incorporates translucent panels and windscreens to display artwork, and features elements inspired by family, nature, music and Rowlett’s cultural history,” James says.
Once complete, James anticipates that Rowlett’s new light rail station and unique art walk will morph into a must-see destination location for commuters, community members and art enthusiasts.
The extended Blue Line is part of one of the largest light rail projects currently under construction in North America. The expansion includes the construction of six light-rail bridges that span major Garland and Rowlett roadways, such as Rowlett’s Main Street and Garland’s State Highway 78. The Blue Line is currently in the systems testing phase and is scheduled to be completed December 2012.
DART, a Dallas-based transit operation servicing 12 surrounding communities with modern public transit services and customer facilities, includes rail and bus transit options that service almost a quarter of a million passengers daily across a 700-square-mile service area.
KAI Texas has participated in the design-build construction of approximately 55 light rail stations, and has served as the General Planning Consultant for DART on three rail line projects. Additionally, KAI Texas was recently elected to serve in the design-build expansion of DART’s Orange line to Irving and the DFW Airport, which is set to be completed in December 2014.