Rapid Transit Office (RTO) Crew Quarters Buildings

Astoria, Queens, and Canarsie, Brooklyn, New York

As part of the program to upgrade the Rapid Transit Operations program, Urbahn designed two crew quarters buildings at the Ditmars Boulevard and Rockaway Parkway stations. The facilities house the communications and signal operations that dispatch trains. The new RTO building typology differs greatly from past models by incorporating monitoring and communications technologies as well as evolving crew functions in facilities that ameliorate the otherwise harsh environment of the subway system.

The buildings’ forms and façades are a bold departure from both the historic architecture of the original transit system and the prosaic structures of recent decades. Rather than hide the utilitarian functions, we designed buildings that cryptically call attention to the themselves. We employed a playful modernist language with provocative geometries, and wrapped the buildings with a custom metal panel system. The interiors were designed to maintain sightlines to incoming trains while providing comfortable crew support spaces.

Client: MTA New York City Transit
Photographer: Lydia Gould Architectural Photography