An 800-lb multi-mirrored heart sculpture was unveiled yesterday as the 12th winner of the Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition. Heart Squared was designed by architects Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem of MODU and artist Eric Forman from Eric Forman Studios, both based in Brooklyn. Designed to function like a kaleidoscope, multi-directional mirrors have been suspended in a thin metal space-frame to reflect the bright lights of Times Square from every angle. The 10-foot-tall sculpture prompts visitors to circle around until the frame and mirrors align to reveal a heart, creating the perfect backdrop for a New York Valentine’s Day selfie. “It is the public floor of the city, chaotic, crowded, noisy, it's a character we love about the city. In these public spaces, we feel the freedom to be ourselves amongst others who are different than us,” said Rotem at the sculpture's unveiling. “In our piece, we want to emphasize and amplify this amazing character of the city.” MODU was recognized with a Rome Prize for architecture in 2017, and in 2019 the firm was one of the Architectural League of New York's Emerging Voices. They collaborated with Eric Forman, who founded his eponymous studio in 2003 and specializes in pieces that facilitate interaction between technology and design. “We designed this as a balancing act between structure and air, buildings and sky, people and the city, movement, and slowness,” said Forman at the opening. Times Square Arts partnered with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum for this year's competition. Heart Squared was selected from a shortlist of five other New York-based firms, including Agency—Agency, Hou de Sousa, Isometric, Office III, and Other Means. The jury selected Heart Squared because it was dynamic, animated, inclusive, and accessible, according to Andrea Lipps, associate curator of design at the Cooper Hewitt. The jury also included Sean Anderson from MoMA; Victor Calise, the commissioner from the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities; Kevin Davey from UAP, and last year’s winner, Suchi Reddy from Reddymade. The competition was made possible from support by the Warhol Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Ripple Foundation, Silman, and New Project. The project’s 125 mirrors will be on display in Father Duffy Square between West 46th and 47th Streets throughout the month of February.
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Erica Tishman, a founding partner of DeWitt Tishman Architects, was tragically struck and killed today by a piece of a building facade that fell in Manhattan. The 60-year old architect and vice president at Zubatkin Owner Representation was declared dead on the scene around 10:45 a.m. at 49th Street near 7th Avenue. According to the police, the incident occurred outside of 729 7th Avenue, a 17-story building that was constructed in 1915. The building had been issued a violation in April for “failure to maintain exterior building facade and appurtenances,” and according to The Wallstreet Journal, a city inspector noted in the April summons that the building had damaged terra cotta above the 15th floor in several locations, “which poses a falling hazard for pedestrians.” The building is owned by a limited liability company controlled by commercial real estate firm Himmel + Meringoff Properties. According to Department of Buildings records, the company took out permits in October and November to work on the facade. As of this morning, the scaffolding needed to complete this work has not yet been installed.
This May, designer Jou Doucet x Partners, working with the Times Square Design Lab (TSqDL), debuted a 3D-printed concrete alternative to the now-common heavy concrete planters, bollards, and more traditional “Jersey” barriers that surround public places and prominent buildings across the country. Anti-terror street furniture is the often ugly urban peripheral that plugs into our cities to add a new feature—specifically the capability to stop speeding vehicles and other terrorists attacks. Doucet’s design offers what he calls “a different, humanist approach to security.” The project was commissioned for the second annual TSqDL initiative, which was created to bring new design ideas to the public realm—specifically, New York's crossroads of the world that is visited by nearly half-a-million people daily. On display and in use since May, the Rely Bench comprises gently rounded, interconnected concrete platforms that each weigh over one ton. With its modular components connected with steel rods, the benches are designed to almost act like a net, catching a vehicle and absorbing its impact. The design is nice enough, but the real innovation is in the method used to make it. The Rely Bench is the first product to be manufactured through HyCoEx, a fully digital production method that street furniture company Urbastyle believes will “revolutionize the concrete furniture market”. Little information has been made available about the technology other than it uses an extrusion technique powered by a 3D printing robotic arm developed by Concrenetics and produced by UrbaStyle in partnership with Autodesk, ABB and Cementir Group. Though extrusion is common with plastics, HyCoEx is the first method to adopt it for concrete; other methods primarily use deposition, layering concrete to build the final form. The benefits of 3D printing over traditional concrete casting include lowering production costs resulting from reduced waste material and the lack of required mold. Indeed, Urbastyle believes that the HyCoEx method “may one day completely replace mold production.” Perhaps most significantly, HyCoEx empowers designers to efficiently create any form or surface pattern they can imagine. The company sees it as a type of “artisan” technology that removes the separation between design and fabrication. The Times Square installation was just a prototype of the design and technology, but prepare to see more of both soon. The Rely is currently being tested against international crash barrier standards.
Times Square, always a hub of intense street life, with 350,000 to 450,000 visitors a day and an overload of images, is about to become a site for “design talks, installations, and performances.” Design Pavilion, the centralized public hub for New York’s fourth annual design week (May 10–22 from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily), in partnership with the Times Square Alliance, will activate five plazas (on Broadway between 45th and 46th streets.) with immersive environments and daily programs featuring the work of leading architects, designers, and artists. New Design Pavilion projects presented this year are by New Yorkers Joe Doucet and Victoria Milne alongside works from Brad Ascalon, Hive Public Space, Louis Lim, DYAD, and Virginia Tech’s winning Solar Decathlon house, FutureHAUS. A highlight will be K67, an iconic Yugoslavian kiosk originally designed in 1967 by Slovenian Saša J. Mächtig. The plastic Kiosk, designed as a reproducible, extendable, and interlocking system was found all over the Eastern bloc countries in the 1960s, but has never been displayed in this country.
New housing is coming to Times Square, at least temporarily. The Virginia Tech team of students and faculty behind the FutureHAUS, which won the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018, a competition supported by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and U.S. Department of Energy, will bring a new iteration of its solar-powered home to New York for New York Design Week in collaboration with New York City–based architects DXA Studio. The first Dubai iteration was a 900-square-foot prefab home, that, in addition to being entirely solar powered, featured 67 “futuristic devices,” centered around a few core areas including, according to the team’s website: “entertainment, energy management, aging-in-place, and accessibility.” This included everything from gait recognition for unique user identities and taps that put out precise amounts of water given by voice control to tables with integrated displays and AV-outfitted adjustable rooms. One of the home’s biggest innovations, however, is its cartridge system, developed over the past 20 years by Virginia Tech professor Joe Wheeler. The home comprises a number of prefabricated blocks or "cartridges"—a series of program cartridges includes the kitchen and the living room, and a series of service cartridges contained wet mechanical space and a solar power system. The spine cartridge integrates all these various parts and provides the “central nervous system” to the high-tech house. These all form walls or central mechanical elements that then serve as the central structure the home is built around, sort of like high-tech LEGO blocks. The inspiration behind the cartridges came from the high-efficiency industrial manufacturing and assembly line techniques of the automotive and aerospace industries and leveraged the latest in digital fabrication, CNC routing, robotics, and 3D printing all managed and operated through BIM software. Once the cartridges have been fabricated, assembly is fast. In New York it will take just three days to be packed, shipped, and constructed, “a testament to how successful this system of fabrication and construction is,” said Jordan Rogove, a partner DXA Studio, who is helping realize the New York version of the home. The FutureHAUS team claims that this fast construction leads to a higher-quality final product and ends up reducing cost overall. The cartridge system also came in handy when building in New York with its notoriously complicated permitting process and limited space. “In Dubai an eight-ton crane was used to assemble the cartridges,” explained Rogove. “But to use a crane in Times Square requires a lengthy permit process and approval from the MTA directly below. Thankfully the cartridge system is so versatile that the team has devised a way to assemble without the crane and production it would've entailed.” There have obviously been some alterations to the FutureHAUS in New York. For example, while in Dubai there were screen walls and a courtyard with olive trees and yucca, the Times Square house will be totally open and easy to see, decorated with plants native to the area. The FutureHAUS will be up in Times Square for a week and a half during New York’s design week, May 10 through May 22.
This summer, visitors to Times Square can take in an underwater virtual reality experience, courtesy of the North Carolina-based conceptual artist Mel Chin and technology giant Microsoft. The site-specific mixed-reality public art installation titled Unmoored will come to life from July 11 through September 5. Chin tackles the topic of climate change, imagining a future where melting ice caps cause the city to go underwater. As visitors look through VR goggles, they can see a 'nautical traffic jam' of 3-D modeled ships, each with their own unique identification number and name. Ships move slowly in the city, bumping into each other and buildings, creating waves rendered by realistic animation and sound effects. Visitors can also view Wake, another public artwork by Chin, which “evokes the hull of a shipwreck crossed with the skeletal remains of marine mammals,” beside a sculpture of the 19th century opera singer Jenny Lind. Chin chose New York City as the site for the word because it represents the center of trade, entertainment, and capitalism for the country. Its history is loaded with topics that resonate today, like guns and slavery. The USS Nightingale, which was historically involved with the shipping of slaves, is digitally recreated in the Unmoored experience. The installations are part of an exhibition titled Mel Chin: All Over the Place, presented with the Queens Museum of Art and NYC-based, nonprofit arts organization No Longer Empty in various sites around New York. Times Square visitors can view the show through mobile devices via Unmoored’s mobile app, which is now available for download and use. Check this link for more details.
New York’s Times Square plaza will be transformed by designers Brad Ascalon, Joe Doucet, Louis Lim, DYAD and Hive Public Space this May. Organized by the Times Square Alliance, the designers’ solutions rethink the street furniture of one of the world’s most visible public spaces. The collection includes conceptual designs for seating, signage, and book display. Furniture designer Brad Ascalon designs an "island" that incorporates planters, seating and storage. Product designer Joe Doucet envisions colorful pods that organize the interactions of people in the public space. Urban design and placemaking consultancy Hive Public Space combines a bookcase with a bench, echoing the Strand Bookstore nearby. DYAD, led by designer Douglas Fanning, formulates an eye-catching sign holder resembling a kick-boxing stand, and Louis Lim designs a teardrop-shaped, touch-responsive signage system. “Times Square asked great New York City designers to build on permanent transformations such as the red steps and the pedestrian plazas, and temporary transformations through design and public art,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, and the organizer of local events. The pieces will be revealed on the plaza together with the opening of the Design Pavilion during NYCxDesign. They are curated by Times Square Design Lab (TSqDL), which is a collaboration between 6¢ Design, a think tank led by Principal Victoria Milne, and the Times Square Alliance. NYCxDesign is an annual event that celebrates local and worldwide design talents and will take place between May 11 and 23 this year.
Artist Mel Chin is bringing two new installations to Times Square’s Broadway plazas this summer. Wake and Unmoored are part of Mel Chin: All Over the Place, a multi-location exhibition produced by the Queens Museum and the public art nonprofit No Longer Empty. Other locations involved with the citywide exhibition are the Queens Museum and the Broadway–Lafayette/Bleeker Street subway station, which is hosting a May 13 rededication for Signals, Chin’s permanent installation at the station. Wake is a 24-foot-tall installation crafted by Mel Chin to resemble a shipwreck intertwined with the skeleton of a marine mammal. Adjacent to the shipwreck will be a 21-foot-tall sculpture based off of a figurehead of 19th-century opera singer, Jenny Lind. This project is being fabricated by the UNC Asheville's STEAM Studio. A celebrity during her career, Lind was also a figurehead for the USS Nightingale, a mercantile clipper involved in the trade of guns and slaves. Chin views Lind’s inclusion in the piece as means to pull back the complicated, and often controversial, factors that led to New York City’s rise. According to Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance that partnered with the producers on the project, Wake serves as bridge to Unmoored. In collaboration with Microsoft, Unmoored is a mixed reality experience revealing a speculative vision of a world where global warming goes unchecked. Unmoored’s augmented reality section will extend from 45th to 47th Street, and will be viewable through cell phones and tablets. Times Square Arts commissioned these installations, which will be on view at the Broadway plazasbetween the cross streets above at Broadway/7th Avenue beginning July 11. In a statement to the The New York Times, Chin describes Wake coming alive through digital interaction, such as the sculpture of Jenny Lind “who will sigh and raise her head to the heavens," as Times Square floods around her. All Over the Place began at the Queens Museum on April 8. The museum’s portion of the exhibition is the first survey of the artist’s work by a New York City institution. In total, the survey contains over seventy works spanning Chin’s four-decade artistic career, including paintings, sculptures and videos. Additionally, two newly commissioned projects, Flint Fit and Soundtrack, are found at the Queens location. Curators Laura Raicovich, the Queens Museum's former president and executive director, and Manon Slome, No Longer Empty's co-founder and chief curator, describe All Over the Place as a city-wide celebration of Chin’s work and his ability to deliver “provocative and profound investigations of the ways in which we live, our socio-economic contexts, our relationship to our surrounding environments, how power skews the scales, and how poetry can intervene, to a broad public.” Wake and Unmoored will stand in Times Square until September 5, 2018. More information about the exhibition can be found here.
When architects Aranda\Lasch and computational designer Marcelo Coelho were planning their entry to the Times Square Alliance and Design Trust for Public Space’s 10th Annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, they took a trip to the area. After observing thousands of visitors taking nonstop snapshots and selfies, it became clear that they would create an homage to screens, lenses, and our image-saturated society. The result was Window to the Heart, aka The Lens, a round, heart-centered sculpture that graced the north end of Times Square (between 46th and 47th Streets) throughout February. With The Lens, Aranda\Lasch and Coelho not only alluded to the area’s self-referential environment, but they created the world’s largest Fresnel lens—the flattened, ridged lenses you often see in lighthouses that recreate the effect of a much larger lens—measuring 12 feet, 2 inches in diameter, 10 feet tall, and weighing over two tons. “Look around,” said Benjamin Aranda at the sculpture’s opening. “Everyone’s taking pictures right now. It never stops.” His colleague Joaquin Bonifaz added: “To be in Times Square means you’re seeing or being seen through a lens.” How did they pull this off? In many stages, in many locations, with many partners: First the team modeled the project in Rhinoceros and Neon with Long Island City-based Laufs Engineering Design. Then, with Formlabs in Boston, they 3-D printed 1,090 sawtooth resin tiles, utilizing Form 2 printers, working in tandem, for two weeks. Then, together with Brooklyn-based Caliper Studio, they fabricated the tiles, which were back coated with silicon and attached in 98 concentric rings on top of a clear, flat acrylic core, which had been trucked in from Reynolds Polymer in Colorado. Caliper fabricated the structure’s massive steel base, and the composition was then attached to the base and carefully transported it, with Yonkers-based 24/7 lifting, to Times Square. The result was a mesmerizing piece, which abstracted, amplified, and bent the crazy, colorful lights and images of Times Square. The piece was best seen from afar, where clearer images related to ideal focal lengths. The piece’s central, cutout heart was a tough sell for the team, who, like most designers, are more interested in abstraction than literal forms. But the results spoke for themselves, as visitors lined up to take pictures of, and with the sculpture, most of them poking their heads through its heart. “People get it immediately,” Aranda said. “They’re capturing it, they’re filtering it, they’re sharing it.” Resources:
Marcelo Coelho cmarcelo.com
Laufs Engineering Design laufsed.com
Reynolds Polymer reynoldspolymer.com
The first photos have been released of the renovated cafeteria at 4 Times Square, originally designed by Frank Gehry for Condé Nast, and the redesign appears to have thoroughly modernized the space. The 260-seat cafeteria, the Los Angeles-based architect's first project in New York City, was intended to be an exclusive gathering place for Condé Nast employees. Completed in 2000, Gehry’s curves are prominently displayed throughout the room, from the 12-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide billowing glass partitions hung from the ceiling to the twisting grey titanium columns at the edge of the cafeteria. Even the seating reflected the overall design ethos, as rows of orange leather seating undulated alongside the partitions and handrails. With Condé Nast’s exit from the Durst Organization-owned 4 Times Square in 2015, questions swirled over the ultimate fate of the cafeteria. Now, the Durst Organization has announced that the cafeteria will be the centerpiece of a 45,600-square-foot amenity floor accessible to all of the building’s tenants. The entire floor’s renovation was handled by local firm STUDIOS Architecture, and the end result is a total transformation of Gehry’s cafeteria that still keeps the fundamental curves in place. The titanium paneling on the walls and ceiling have been painted white, the floors and accents have been replaced with American white oak planks, and the chrome pendant lights have been stripped out. The bright seating has been reupholstered in hues of beige, and the yellow-topped tables have been replaced with white alternatives. The end result is more IAC Building than Disney Concert Hall, and STUDIOS has definitely succeeded in bringing more light into the space. The redesign marks the launch of the Durst Organization’s Well& amenity brand across all of their properties, with this floor at 4 Times Square as their first location. Accessible from the cafeteria is the new “Garden Room,” a circular bar area that features a 106-foot-long, floor-to-ceiling wraparound green wall designed by Blondie’s Treehouse. The southern side of the floor has been leased to Convene, a flexible meeting and workspace management company. The meeting and event spaces on the Convene side can hold up to 480 people, and the look, handled by their in-house design team, skews towards darker wood paneling and tile flooring. The $35 million renovation of the amenity floor is just one part of Durst’s recent $135 million modernization effort at 4 Times Square, which includes new entrances, elevator cabs, and a full lobby and reception renewal.
Richard Weinstein, an architect whose contributions helped to rethink traditional zoning and urban planning in both New York and Los Angeles, passed on February 24 at the age of 85 from complications related to Parkinson’s disease. Weinstein, a proponent of public-minded urban planning, was known for crafting zoning regulations that were specific to the context of individual neighborhoods rather than conform to a universal template. Weinstein began his academic career in the field of psychology, receiving his B.A from Brown University and an M.A from Columbia. As reported by the New York Times, Weinstein’s professional tenure as a psychologist based in Washington D.C exposed him to the works of Frank Lloyd Wright that dot the capital’s landscape. Spurred by this exposure, Weinstein enrolled in Harvard’s architecture program but ultimately transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his master’s in 1960. The architect’s planning career began following John V. Lindsay’s successful campaign for mayor in 1965. Under the Lindsay administration, Weinstein served as the director of the Office of Planning and Development for Lower Manhattan and was a founding member of the Urban Design Group, a revolutionary body that embedded architects and planners within city governance and decision-making. With the authority of the mayor’s office, the Urban Design Group negotiated directly with the development community to guide New York towards an inclusive and pluralist policy of urban design. Prior to his involvement with the Lindsay administration, Weinstein worked for the firms of Edward Larrabee Barnes and I.M Pei. Weinstein’s approach to planning is described by UCLA as grounded in the belief that “the city’s mandate was to preserve and enrich the life of the public and cultural street as the city grew taller with private investment,” increased tax revenue was not to be considered a valid exchange for building variances. While working for the Lindsay administration, Weinstein was crucial in the protection of Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, Cass Gilbert’s United States Custom House, and pushed for the creation, and expansion, of the Times Square Historic District. His knowledge of New York's complex system of air rights facilitated economic self-sufficiency for the city's landmarks and simultaneously guided development along predetermined channels Weinstein took up the post of dean of UCLA’s Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning in 1985, a post he held until 1994. He remained at UCLA as a professor of architecture and urban design until 2008. There, his influence on a generation of architects was immeasurable. As Thom Mayne, founder and principal of Morphosis, and a professor of architecture at UCLA, stated, "Richard saw architecture/urbanism as a noble profession with immeasurable potential to shape everyday life, inextricably linked to its social, political and cultural circumstance. We often discussed the seemingly unknowable nature of our profession which only propelled us to stubbornly attempt to achieve the impossible — in every project.” Weinstein is survived by his wife, Edina, and two sons – Nikolas and Alexander.
Times Square can leave your head spinning at the best of times, but come the final minutes of each day this month, visitors can witness a psychedelic show on the square's famous advertising boards. Known as Convolution Weave~Lattice Domain and created by MSHR—a collaborative composed of Portland, Oregon–based artists Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy—the work is a highly colorful virtual landscape of spinning objects. The complex sculptures represent objects that would be impossible to create in reality, as well as more conventional forms, that creating dazzling patterns. "We construct hypershapes that reflect consciousness, just as the content in Times Square reflects the psychic structure of our culture. There are many possible shapes of reality," MSHR said in a press release. "We aim to warp the frayed edges of this media node, minding the intentions behind mental influence through imagery. Our intention is to inject the light stream with objects sculpted for presence of mind." The installation is part of the Midnight Moment, a monthly showing provided by The Times Square Advertising Coalition and presented in partnership with Upfor Gallery and Times Square Arts. Convolution Weave~Lattice Domain can be viewed from 11:57 p.m.-midnight every night this August. Despite hailing from the West Coast, more of MSHR's work can be found in New York—in particular, Queens, where Cooper and Murphy's art is featured in the Past Skin exhibition at MoMA PS1 where it is on view through September 10, 2017.