Moved by a Light Rail Station

by Michael Carrizosa

If I had to pin-point the moment when I became interested in transportation architecture I would say  it was my junior year of architecture school at the University of Washington. During this time I had a chance to take a film photography class and in this class, I was able to merge two of my passions: architecture and analog photography.

As a final project in the class, we had to select a building to document through black and white analog photography. The building I chose was the Tukwila Light Rail Station.

For years, that station had called my attention every time I rode the link to the airport or drove past it. Being familiar with transportation systems in Mexico City, New York City and Berlin, I noticed a stark difference between those utilitarian-looking metros and what Seattle was trying to do with their light rail system. I sensed something monumental about the station that intrigued me and convinced me to believe transportation architecture could become something beyond just utilitarian architecture.

Collective Metro System, Mexico City, 2017
Berlin Subway, Berlin, 2014

As a student, I was always interested in architecture that improves the urban environment and promotes sustainability. It wasn’t long until I started looking at transportation architecture as a career. Seattle is going through an unprecedented growth spurt and with that growth, comes many opportunities to accommodate new residents and improve means of transportation. With the recently approved ST3 plan, I felt like I had the chance to be part of something that has the potential to transform Seattle into a more efficient city.

That is when I thought back to the Tukwila Light Rail Station I explored during my analog photography project. It was not long until I found HEWITT and decided to apply. Transportation architecture, such as light rail expansion, has the potential to connect people while facilitating movement within: it is a way of reactivating urban environments and promoting economic growth.

Tukwila Light Rail Station shot from parking lot
Tukwila Light Rail Station Platform

The creative process behind designing Light Rail Station is fascinating as it is inspiring. The team effort that goes into it, while time consuming, is a true collaboration between all trades and the public. I’m involved in the early design for ST3 expansion, and I remain hopeful and excited that we have a chance to positively improve movement and connection in the city.

Michael Carrizosa is a 2016 graduate from the University of Washington. He first learned about architecture from his father in Mexico who introduced to him the elements of architectural design, materializing ideas and delivering results. The result was a lifelong passion for civic and adaptive reuse projects. He uses this perspective along with skills in 3D modeling, rendering, and photography to illustrate concepts and provide clarity to conceptual and final design for multimodal transportation projects including the West Seattle to Ballard link station and Downtown Redmond Link. He is editor-in-chief for The Brutalist Bugle.