M Design a Bus Shelter

What's the problem here? Getting started on your bus shelter design project.

A shelter is a structure that we may take for granted, but bus shelters also have the potential to make our daily lives easier while also significantly impacting the way our streets look. This design challenge is all about taking something we use regularly and redesign it to improve it. What is missing from the current design of your city's bus shelters? What is it that you intend to change about their design?

How do you Collect Info for this step of the design process?

In this step of the design process, you’ll want to gather as much information as possible about different types of bus shelters. How do people use them? You’ll also want to look at bus stations that have been designed in other countries. Interview bus riders about how they use the current type of bus shelter and what is missing in their design.

Think About

  • What are the basic functions and design elements of any bus shelter?
  • What materials are these shelters made from?
  • What are some things that you really like or hate about Chicago’s current bus shelters?
  • How long will passengers need to typically wait at the bus stop? 

 Try This

  • Make a list of all the different features on an existing Chicago bus shelter. Explain what you’ve learned and post information the information in this step.
  • Use Flickr and Google Images to search "bus shelter." Research different types of bus stops and shelters in different cities around the world. How are these different than Chicago bus shelters?
  • Use Google Maps to view and print out an aerial photograph of your intersection. How far away is the stop from the street corner? How far away should it be?
  • Interview several of your friends and classmates about what they like or hate about the bus shelters you typically use. 
  • Check out this Chicago Tribune article from architecture critic Blair Kamin about the 2003 design of Chicago's bus shelters by a French company.
  • This blog about bus shelter designs have some very interesting ideas from all over the world.

How do you Brainstorm Ideas for this step of the design process?

In the this step of the design process, you’ll want put some early ideas down on paper that show what you've found in the Collect Info step.  You also might take more photos to show specific new ideas you have. 

Make some early decisions about the location, size, features, and materials for your bus shelter. Draw a hand sketch to help you puzzle through new ideas.

Try This

  • Identify a location for your bus shelter on your site near your intersection. Mark this location on a map and think about its proximity to other bus stops, rail stations, or other points of interest near this intersection.
  • Based on what you learned in the Collect Information, make a list of all the features you'd like to have in your design. Edit this list into ‘necessities’ and ‘nice to have’ categories.
  • Using a tape measure and some masking tape, mark out some different footprint options for the shelter. How many people do you need to accommodate? How much space should each person get? How does this compare with the size of the current bus shelters?  Explain your thinking in the description of your project.
  • Draw several quick sketches to get your early ideas down on paper.  Either take a photo or scan and then upload your sketches to your project account. These don’t need to be your final ideas. 
  • Consider what materials the shelter will be made from: what materials will be durable against the weather and the riders who wait there?

How do you Develop Solutions for this step of the design process?

Now's the time to take what you've learned from the steps above to develop your solution for a bus shelter.

Important! Since DiscoverDesign is about investigating the design process, the other people viewing your project - other students around the country, your teacher, and mentors - want to see how your ideas have changed over time. This means that while you're working on your digital model, you’ll want to be sure to keep re-saving it with a new file name every few days as you work through the steps.

Draw a sketch or use software such as Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, or Revit to illustrate your ideas.  You can upload photos (JPG files) from your SketchUp model, video fly throughs (FLV files) of your SketchUp model, or drawings (DWF files) from AutoCAD.

Try to include

  • One site plan
  • One floor plan
  • At least two elevation or perspective views

Try This

You may use any method you'd like to show your design (pencil, colored pencil, collage, physical models, or digital rendering software).  Here are a few suggestions for drawings and models of your bus shelter:

  • Use cardboard or cardstock to build a rough physical study model or prototype of your shelter. You can't really understand the shape of the shelter until you make a quick study model. Don't worry about making a fancy finished model at this time. Instead, use cardstock, scissors, and tape to quickly create the large 3D form. See how it looks. Break off different sections, add new pieces, and try new ideas. Take photos of your model and upload them to this step.
  • Sketch or use software such as Google SketchUp, AutoCAD, or Revit to get the ideas out of your head to share with others.

How do you create a Final Design for this step of the design process?

The final step of the design process is to create more finished drawings that illustrate your ideas to others. Remember, your explanation text and the types of drawings, images, and models you share need to tell the whole story of your project to someone who may or may not have ever visited your site or even your city.

Continue to collect feedback from your peers, teachers and the online community to help you improve on your final design. Be sure to review and add constructive comments on the work of your classmates and other students who are solving the same design problem. If your ideas change, be sure to explain your thinking and let others know about the new work you have posted to your account.

You might want to share floor plans, elevations, renderings of your digital model, photos of a physical model, or a video animation of your model.

  • Review your design and test it against your original sucess statement that you wrote for the Overview. Does it meet this criteria?
  • Does your final design meet the expectations of the student athletes and athletic director that you interviewed?  If not, you may need to go back to the drawing board and revise your design.
  • Make a list of your ideas, sketches, and study models. For your final design you will want to write and post a short but effective paragraph of your process and the unique solutions you found developed. Tell us about your ideas.
  • Your teacher and architectural mentors will be looking for these things:
    1. originality in your design
    2. your ability to creatively solve the design challenge
    3. the quality of images, sketches, drawings, and models you have uploaded in each of the five design process steps (Overview, Collect Info, Brainstorm Ideas, Develop Solutions, and Final Design).
    4. As your ideas change, be sure to explain your thinking and let others know about the new work you have posted to your account. Go back to the virtual drawing board and revise your project based on the feedback of others.
    5. how well you have written about and explained your thinking in each of the design process steps