central subway yerba buena/moscone station

The new Yerba Buena/Moscone Station on the Central Subway line is a celebration of transportation as civic art. After the Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the freeway in 1989, the central subway was part of the planned improvements to public transit in San Francisco. These improvements included three new stations: Yerba Buena/Moscone, Chinatown – Rose Pak, and the Union Square/Market Street Station. The MWA team collaborated on this project from concept designs in 2010 through completion in 2022.

This new subway station is located in a vibrant urban core, creating a more accessible, walkable, and sustainable downtown. Our team designed and coordinated our work with the other station and tunnel designers, the Art Commission, and the client, SFMTA.



San Francisco, CA


San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority


18,000 SF




2023 Best Projects Awards, Engineering News-Record (ENR) California Region, Airport/Transit Category


David Papazian


The primary design challenge was to provide natural light in an underground space. Designers implemented a glass ceiling at Yerba Buena/Moscone Station, acting as a massive skylight for all three stories. The glass ceiling defines the exterior and provides natural light from the ticketing level down to the transportation level.

Completely surrounded by glass, two elevators act as a light shaft, anchoring the center of the station from one level to the next.


Major art installations at the street, plaza, ticketing, and concourse add interest and wayfinding for commuters. Connecting people with place, the artwork selection inside the station displays photos of the surrounding Yerba Buena neighborhood and artwork that is representative of the Bay Area. Above the entrance of the ticketing station, Artist Leslie Shows created a 35-foot-wide display called “Face C/Z,” representing the many gold rushes in California.

Archaeological exhibit panels throughout the station tell the history of the area and the Indigenous Peoples who were the traditional stewards of the land.

Marking the entrance of Yerba Buena/Moscone Station, New York Artist Roxy Paine’s “Node” sculpture is the tallest freestanding sculpture in San Francisco.

Standing 102 feet tall and rising from the entrance of Yerba Buena/Moscone Station, this statue serves as an iconic wayfinding landmark.

102 foot tall metal sculpture that looks like a lightning rod shooting out of the sky.


Designed to support the resilience of the community during times of need, a generator cap will continue to power the station and light rail during a power outage. Additionally, two sets of hydraulic elevators allow for one elevator to remain in use if the other is under construction.

Durable materials such as stainless steel, concrete, and tile will withstand the impact of thousands of passengers, keeping this public asset looking fresh and easily maintainable with an estimated lifespan of over one hundred years.


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