Able Pump Station #3 is a utilitarian infrastructure project for the City of Dallas Trinity Watershed Management Department, engineered to mitigate flooding and reclaim public and private land for future amenity and development opportunities. As a strict engineering solution, Able is simply a Machine with a singular purpose- Flood Control. Able has no occupants, visitors or users, and no occupant well-being concerns.
The City tasked the design team to articulate the structure’s imposing mass on the highly visible facility.
Solution: The structure stands roughly 50 Ft tall, 150 FT long, and 100 FT deep. Traditional pump house design may have prevailed were it not for the prominent location near the epicenter of the future revitalization of the southernmost end of the eastern levee system near the downtown CBD.
The Volute Pumps (the heart of the facility) became the inspiration with a simple expression of the centrifugal forces exerted on water as its pumped through curved impeller blades and out through a volute. The violent powerful force of the volute pump is abstracted in soft curving layers draped across the façade. The building’s interior reflects the rugged nature, yet with an emphasis on natural light.
Able Stormwater Pump Station is set to achieve LEED Certification later this year. To fully understand the environmental performance we have to refocus on the impact to the surrounding community. Able Pump Station (now fully operational) serves as flood control for an area of 2,685 acres along the southernmost end of the Eastern Levee System near the Downtown CBD. Able has lowered the 100-Year-Flood elevation by an average of 4 FT. As part of the overall system there will be a proposed 9 retention ponds. These ponds will store upstream runoff and Able will control pond elevations. These ponds will become part of a public greenbelt with hike and bike trails, promenades, fountains, bridges, and overlooks. The greenbelt will be integrated into private commercial development bringing business and residential uses down to the banks of the Trinity River. Able Pump Station is located in the center of this future development. While not accessible by the public the facility will have a covered, lit area with interactive video boards inviting passerby’s to learn about the facility, the history of Trinity River flood management, and updates on community events in and around the waterfront.