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Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC)

The Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) sets a precedent for civic-minded transit hubs in the US. HOK and Parsons Brinckerhoff designed ARTIC as an innovative new transit station that serves as a destination in itself. The project brings together transit, dining, retail and entertainment options in an iconic terminal building.

Anaheim-Regional-Transportation-Intermodal-Center-ARTIC-By-HOK-02-John-Linden-759x576 Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK

© John Linden

“ARTIC is a community-focused building that will change how people think about public transportation. This iconic facility is a symbol of a new era of public transit and was only made possible because of city leaders’ unwavering commitment to a contemporary and bold design. The ARTIC transportation hub and mixed-use activity center will increase community mobility options and is a model for energy efficiency, while promoting sustainable living. In streamlining mobility throughout this beautiful yet densely populated region, ARTIC supports population and tourism growth, housing, and employment opportunities.” – Ernest Cirangle, FAIA, LEED AP, Design Principal, HOK’s Los Angeles.

Anaheim-Regional-Transportation-Intermodal-Center-ARTIC-By-HOK-03-John-Linden-759x569 Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK

© John Linden

The Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) is the first LEED Platinumdesigned transit station in the world, and is a significant vision of public transportation infrastructure. Located in the heart of Orange County, next to the world-class Honda Center and Angel Stadium of Anaheim, ARTIC is a 120-foot tall, 67,000-square-foot transportation hub and mixed-use activity center.

Immediately upon opening in December 2014, the facility increased mobility options for 3 million Orange County residents and more than 40 million visitors annually, and is a model for energy efficiency that also promotes sustainable living. An array of transportation services includes Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) bus service, a regional commuter rail system — Metrolink, Amtrak, Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART), shuttles, taxis, bikes, tour and charter buses and other public/private transportation providers. ARTIC also includes bike lockers, electric vehicle charging stations, a self-service book vending station, Wi-Fi, forthcoming restaurants and approximately 1,100 parking spaces.

Anaheim-Regional-Transportation-Intermodal-Center-ARTIC-By-HOK-05-John-Linden-750x1000 Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK

© John Linden

Though ARTIC’s 67,000 square-foot terminal resembles a grand 19th century rail station, the catenary curving structure’s design and construction was anything but antiquated. The project team collaborated using multiple BIM models during the submittal process, including models for the structural steel, curtain wall, and diamond-shaped ETFE roof that reduced these systems to the simplest geographic elements: 10,500 geopoints provided to 7 decimal places and arcs. These “geogrid” models conveyed the shell’s exact design dimensions and, when overlaid, revealed miniscule alignment gaps along the structure’s curves that would have resulted in delays, rework, and additional costs during construction. Through this cutting-edge virtual collaboration process, ARTIC’s project team was able to precisely design and coordinate the structural steel, two complex hanging curtain wall systems and the ETFE components prior to fabrication and field installation that would normally require field verification dimensions.

Anaheim-Regional-Transportation-Intermodal-Center-ARTIC-By-HOK-10-John-Linden-751x1000 Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK

© John Linden

“The building slopes from a high point on the north to a lower point on the south, and curves from east to west. So effectively, it becomes an exercise in how you optimize the number of points to satisfy that geometry and associated shapes.” – David Herd, Managing Partner, BuroHappold North America

Anaheim-Regional-Transportation-Intermodal-Center-ARTIC-By-HOK-12-ARTIC-759x505 Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK


Design Features:

The flexible station design and master plan expands the definition of transit, fitting it into a larger vision for a more urban and mixed-use future, a station that is more than a station. ARTIC is a catalyst for change. Beyond being a design, engineering, and construction achievement, ARTIC is a major achievement at the civic and community level, a community-focused project that is changing the character of central Anaheim from an automobile-centered area to a transit-, bicycle-, and pedestrian-friendly zone, connected to a regional bike trail.

The realization of the station is the fulfillment of the City of Anaheim’s long-term regional goal of bringing advanced transit solutions to the city as it anticipates population growth and the arrival of over 40 million visitors annually. The civic-minded master plan establishes a clear pedestrian pathway flanked by future mixed-use development with ARTIC as the focal point and primary destination.

Anaheim-Regional-Transportation-Intermodal-Center-ARTIC-By-HOK-14-John-Linden-759x557 Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK

© John Linden

The project serves the public good as one of the most advanced transit centers in the world, employing a high-tech ETFE cladding system for maximum daylighting and environmental control. Every aspect of the design was carefully considered for its energy and environmental performance. On target to achieve LEED Platinum, the building’s ETFE primary shell, combined with operable louvers in the north and south curtain walls, works in concert with heating and cooling radiant floor technology to provide a comfortable, naturally-lit indoor environment.

One of the major achievements of ARTIC is this elegant, functional, and lightweight structural and cladding system. Designing and engineering the structure and façade system involved the close and constant collaboration between the architects and engineers. The engineering and design teams collaborated to work out how the structure, cladding system, and environmental strategies would all come together. To turn it into a constructible system, the engineering team used CATIA with customized scripts, defining the primary geometry and articulating all connections for the steel diagrid shell, ETFE façade technology, metal panel rain screen systems, and glass, for a structure that is constantly expanding and contracting. To achieve this, custom components had to be designed, developed, and fabricated. A Revit model was developed to coordinate all aspects of the building’s structure and systems throughout the design and construction process.

Anaheim-Regional-Transportation-Intermodal-Center-ARTIC-By-HOK-18-John-Linden-759x523 Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK

© John Linden

ARTIC is the largest ETFE project in North America, using over 200,000 square feet of the membrane system for its primary shell. This lightweight system and the arching structural shell also allowed for open, column-free public spaces throughout the terminal. The installation of this system required specially-trained workers who could scale the structure with ropes and harnesses.

Due to the project’s location close to the Santa Ana River trail, a geotechnical investigation was performed to determine foundation construction that would support the iconic steel structure and prohibit liquefaction. The design solution required the use of the Deep Dynamic Compaction (DDC) method beneath a mat slab foundation. . The DDC process required the excavation of a moat around the area of the compaction to absorb the vibration and minimize impacts to surrounding structures from the compaction activity.

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© flickr-Nardella Photo Album

“The judges were impressed by the elegant and clearly legible diagrid arch structure, which has inherent structural stability and redundancy, and whose toroidal geometry helps to maximise its efficiency. The way in which the tall curved glass end walls provide restraint to the roof and also support the cantilevered overhangs was also noted as being particularly successful. Elegant detailing completes an altogether excellent structural design.” – Judge’s comment / The Institution of Structural Engineers (ISE) Award

Anaheim-Regional-Transportation-Intermodal-Center-ARTIC-By-HOK-27-SWA-Group-759x427 Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK

© SWA Group


The transit hub links commuter and regional rail service and intercity bus systems including Amtrak, Metrolink, OCTA bus service and Anaheim Resort Transportation. ARTIC’s flexible design ensures that it can serve as a southern terminus for California’s future high-speed rail system.

Officials challenged the team to create an icon that would welcome a new age of public transportation. The station was also conceived as a catalyst for transforming Anaheim’s core into a pedestrian-friendly zone that promotes connectivity. Known as the “Platinum Triangle,” the area around the station includes Angel Stadium, the Honda Center, the Anaheim Convention Center and Disneyland. The master plan establishes a clear pedestrian pathway flanked by future mixed-use development with ARTIC as the primary destination. The extroverted building has a significant but welcoming presence and will help spur transit-oriented development.

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© SWA Group

Drawing inspiration from classic grand transit halls including Grand Central Terminal in New York, along with the structural elegance of local airship hangars, the team developed a 21st-century design concept. The design achieves its signature parabolic form by employing a diagrid structural system of diamond-shaped steel arches infilled with translucent ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) pillows. At the north and south ends, freestanding curtain walls bring in daylight and offer expansive views. The long-span, grid shell structure creates a grand, light-filled atrium space that accommodates open circulation.

The team used building information modeling (BIM) to develop ARTIC’s complex form, geometry and functions. BIM helped the team navigate the building systems and study the building’s tolerances and environmental performance.

Anaheim-Regional-Transportation-Intermodal-Center-ARTIC-By-HOK-32-John-Linden-759x569 Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK

© John Linden

ARTIC achieved LEED-NC Platinum certification. The vault-shaped structure acts in concert with advanced mechanical systems to optimize energy efficiency. Inflated ETFE cushions cast a soft, translucent light throughout the great hall, while the additional frit pattern on the outer layer reduces solar heat gain. Convection currents naturally ventilate the building as heat rises from the lower south end up to the north side and out through operable louvers. The radiant heating and cooling floor system and optimized HVAC system will help reduce ARTIC’s energy consumption by 50 percent.

LED lights mounted on the diagrid structure illuminate the ETFE pillows in gradations of shifting colors, providing a striking presence on the night skyline. As darkness falls, ARTIC becomes lit from within and acts as a beacon from the freeways and local streets.

Anaheim-Regional-Transportation-Intermodal-Center-ARTIC-By-HOK-34-John-Linden-759x481 Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK

© John Linden

Project Data:

Project name: Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC)
Location: 2626 E Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806, United States
Coordinates: 33.803406, -117.877460
Type: Terminal / Station
Materials & Systems: Cables, ETFE & Fabrics, Glazing & Structural Glass, Metal
Project Area: 67,000 sq.ft / 6,225 sqm
Core Elements:

  • 200,000 Square feet of ETFE polymer pillows on roof structure
  • 13,000 square-foot Amtrak terminal building
  • 30,000 square feet of civic space for passenger and community use
  • 23,000 square feet of retail space
  • Over 1,000 parking spaces, including charging stations for electric vehicles

Site Area: 16-acre
Status: Completed
Cost: $188 million
Completion Year: 2014
Opening Date: December 6, 2014
Visit Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC)’s website: here


  • 2016 – The Institution of Structural Engineers (ISE) Award – Category: Infrastructure or Transportation Structures – Winner
  • 2016 – Architizer A+ Awards – Typology Categories: Bus & Train Stations – Finalist
  • 2016 – Associated General Contractors of America Alliant Build America Award – Category: Building New $10M to $199M – Winner
  • 2015 – The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – AIA Los Angeles Awards – Design Award – Citation
  • 2015 – WAN Awards – Category: Transport – Winner
  • 2015 – The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – AIA Orange County Awards – Category: Commercial Built – Honor Award
  • 2015 – ENR California Awards – Category: Airport/Transit – Best Project
  • 2015 – American Public Works Association (APWA) Awards – Category: Public Works – Project of the Year
  • 2015 – American of Institute of Steel Construction (AISC IDEAS2 Awards) – Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel Award
  • 2014 – American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Awards – Category: Project of the Year + Structural Engineering Project of the Year – Winner
  • 2014 – The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – AIA TAP BIM Award – Stellar Architecture Using BIM Citation
  • 2014 – The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – AIA San Fernando Valley Awards – Design Award
  • 2013 – The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – AIA Orange County Awards – Design Award – Honorable Mention
  • 2013 – U.S. Green Building Council – Eco City Award
  • 2010 – Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Awards – Recognition Award for Sustained Leadership
  • Golden Nugget Award – Outstanding On-The-Boards Site Plan

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: City of Anaheim
Architects: HOK – Headquarters: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
General Contractor: Clark Construction Group

  • MEP Engineer: Buro Happold
  • Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
  • Civil and Site Structural Engineer: Parsons Brinckerhoff


  • Lighting Designer – Horton Lees Brogden
  • Acoustical Consultant – Newson Brown
  • Construction Manager – STV Group, Inc.
  • Landscape Architects: SWA Group

Text Description: © Courtesy of HOK, ARTIC
Images: © HOK, ARTIC, John Linden, SWA Group, flickr-Nardella Photo Album

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Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) / HOK
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