A CONSTANT REFRAIN FOR US IS: Consider the parable of the Central Arizona Project. The 336-mile diversion canal was built to carry water from the Colorado River across the hottest part of America in order to facilitate growth in the region. The completion of such a monumental undertaking—construction ended in 1993, after twenty years and four billion dollars spent—highlights what's possible in the region, even in an age when we face increasing skepticism about large-scale infrastructure projects. Although this epic aqueduct through the desert may seem counterintuitive—and perhaps even excessive—it has been the primary force enabling economic development in the region. We see high-speed rail and Central Station as an extension of this logic.
Despite the importance of the Central Arizona Project, it isn't the sole precedent we considered; in fact, the whole landscape of the American West is a testament to the power of our will and the depth of our capacity to organize enormous amounts of land in accordance with the needs of agriculture and infrastructure. Satellite images of hundred-mile parcels of land divided up like so many street grids are familiar to us now; it's the opposite image, that of the untouched frontier, that seems shocking.
When considering how we might design a seven-square-mile building in the desert, we knew it wouldn't be a problem of capacity, but one of geometry. How would we parcel up the land in the most effective way? To answer this question, we turned to a cartography technique called the Voronoi diagram: a geometrically rational method of accommodating irregular growth. Designing Central Station in this cellular form allows us to add variously sized parcels to the building over time and grow into the desert indefinitely; the space can easily be adapted to the needs of tenants and the changing market while aesthetically conveying a responsiveness to the environment. The design isn't top-down, rigid, and inflexible, but fluid and dynamic. We think that's a powerful selling point.