Archtober Building of the Day #28 Times Square Reconstruction Broadway and Seventh Avenue (West 42nd to West 47th Streets) Snøhetta “Looking for calm within the chaos,” was how Nick Koster of Snøhetta, described the firm’s design for the Times Square Reconstruction. Just then a topless woman dressed as a super hero sashayed past the Archtober tour group, which contained about a dozen school children. Snøhetta’s plan for Times Square is successful because it doesn’t assert itself as a piece of architecture or design. Instead, it serves as a foil for the craziness around it. At one of the brightest and loudest intersections in the world their goal was to create a space, “that’s open and flexible and can be used by a lot of different user groups for a lot of things,” said Koster. Broadway and 7th Avenue form a bowtie-shaped, four-acre space as they cross between 42 and 47 streets. Snøhetta’s challenge was to design a public space along the closed two-acre portion of Broadway. The constraints were many and various, from the “guests of the street,” as the city calls the utilities like Con Edison and Verizon whose cables lie beneath Broadway, to the Shuttle Train subway tunnel, which at some points is just three inches below the sidewalk. To unify the new public space the firm chose an iconic paving scheme anchored with fifty-foot stone benches, which are not yet installed. The dingy gum-covered sidewalk was demolished. What was once the street was raised to sidewalk level, and separated from the cross streets with a new granite curb. The former street and sidewalk were covered with a pattern of quartz-finished pavers punctuating by stainless steel bolts. “We wanted something really subtle that captures the light,” said Koster. Claire Felman, of Snøhetta, explained that the bolts are reminiscent of the marquis lights of “the great white way,” an older iteration of Times Square. Koster said a major objective was “the act of de-cluttering.” Events and vendors who use the plaza need electricity, but Snøhetta wanted to do away with the droning generators and wires that line the pavement. The solution was subterranean wiring built into the benches. The monolithic benches are also intended to direct the flow of pedestrian traffic and create quieter sub-spaces, as Koster put it, “a place of rest that people need.”
Posts tagged with "Times Square":
Times Square 1984: The Postmodern Moment The Skyscraper Museum 39 Battery Place, New York Through January 18, 2015 Times Square is one of the most renowned cultural hubs in the entire world. It is commonly heralded as the perfect tourist attraction: full of bright lights at night, giant LED billboard signs, and men in furry costumes of Elmo and the Cookie Monster. Times Square 1984: The Postmodern Moment, currently on view at The Skyscraper Museum, enlightens visitors with the recent history of Times Square and how it became what it is today. The exhibition is composed of a mix of photographs, blueprints, and films that depict the gradual evolution of the area. The exhibition is key to understanding how the area went from seedy to family friendly, and came to attract media and finance alongside its longstanding theater tenants.
This weekend, design firm Bade Stageberg Cox will transform Times Square with the help of nearly 50 reclaimed chairs painted taxicab yellow. The chairs will be arranged like theater seats and Times Square will be the stage. "As the plaza is occupied throughout the day, the chairs' movement and rearrangement becomes a performance about the ways in which people inhabit the public realm and shape it to suit their needs," said the firm in a statement. The installation is part of their Street Theater series, and coincides with New York City Design Week.
New York's newest boutique hotel, Row NYC, opened its doors at the end of March in Times Square. This launch comes after two years and $140 million were spent on developing the 1,331-room property at 800 8th Avenue, a collaboration between Highgate Hotels and Rockpoint Group. This hotel strives to bring the pulse of the city into the experience of its visitors and redefine the Midtown Manhattan hotel experience. Row asked New York–based architecture and design firm Gabellini Sheppard Associates to integrate elements of the city's redesigned grittiness into their hotel. Upon entering the space, visitors are immediately confronted by a twenty-four-foot-high entry space that draws off of the electricity of the surrounding area. The double-height lobby is accessible through a grand, illuminated staircase meant to lend a theatrical sensibility to the entry sequence. The entryway combines industrial and organic elements to create a space that feels both intimate and limitless. The reception area is flanked by two light sculptures by New York artist Yorgo Alexopoulos. Row's restaurant, District M, features items from New York's most famous bakeries and bistros including Payard, Murray's Cheese Shop, and Balthazar. A full market is expected to open later this year called City Kitchen that will offer additional cuisine from around the city. According to a statement from Row, "it will be a respite for foodies who work in the area and allow guests to get a taste of New York's finest without ever having to leave the property." The hotel will have a digital art gallery that features work by Ron Gabella, the so-called "godfather of U.S. paparazzi culture." The collection will feature images of Manhattan during the late seventies and early eighties. Never before seen images by Gabella will be featured in guest rooms.
[beforeafter] [/beforeafter] New York City has been adjusting to its new Mayor Bill De Blasio, who took office at the beginning of the year. The new mayor has been slowly revealing his team of commissioners who will guide the city's continued transformation. As AN has noted many times before, De Blasio's predecessor Michael Bloomberg and his team already left a giant mark on New York's built environment. With little more than paint, planters, and a few well-placed boulders, Bloomberg and former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan's street interventions have been some of the most evident changes around the city. Whether it's at Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza, above, or at Snøhetta's redesigned Times Square, these road diets shaved off excess space previously turned over to cars and returned it to the pedestrian realm in dramatic fashion as these before-and-after views demonstrate. As we continue to learn more about our new Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, take a look back at 25 of the most exciting road diets and pedestrian plaza conversions across New York City from the Bloomberg era. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Allen and Pike Streets in the Lower East Side. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Holland Tunnel Area. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: St. Nicholas Avenue & Amsterdam Avenue. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Allen and Pike Street in the Lower East Side. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Harlem River Park Gateway. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Herald Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Harlem River Park Gateway. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] Location: Broadway at Times Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: 12th Avenue West at 135th Street. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Holland Tunnel Area. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Louis Nine Boulevard. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Delancey Street in the Lower East Side. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Prospect Park West. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Broadway at Times Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Broadway & West 71st Street. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Union Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Columbus Avenue. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Union Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Water and Whitehall Streets. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Union Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Randall and Leggett Ave. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Grand Army Plaza at the entrance to Brooklyn's Prospect Park. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Hoyt Avenue at the RFK Bridge. All photos courtesy New York City Department of Transportation.
Inside Out New York City Where: Times Square When: Through May 10, 2013 The world’s first photo booth was stationed in Times Square nearly a century ago. Now, New Yorkers and visitors are invited back to snap some black and white self-portraits in a photo booth truck hosted by Inside Out's French street artist JR. The artist has launched Inside Out New York City, taking place from April 22 to May 10, 2013, to provide community members the opportunity to make a statement and participate in creating works of art out of messages of individual identity. The digitally uploaded photographs are printed as posters and displayed on Duffy Square or publicly in the subjects’ home communities. Inside Out is a worldwide platform for anyone to reveal untold stories. The project gives participants the chance to become visible as larger-than-life portraits and to simultaneously remain anonymous. JR's endeavor strives to emphasize Times Square as a creative core, but also engages New York City’s other boroughs. The photo booth truck is making stops in the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn, to give attention to communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Participants can take part in the photo booths instantaneously and at no cost. Within just one minute, a black and white poster is printed. Participants then leave the 3-foot-by-4-foot posters in a public place of their choosing. The exhibitions will be documented, archived, and viewable online. So far, more than 120,000 posters have been sent to over 108 countries since March 2011 as part of the Inside Out project. The self-portraits convey countless themes including diversity, gender-based violence, and climate change. If you want to help Inside Out and will be in NYC between now and May 10, email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer by yourself or with a group.
Today, New York City broke ground on the new paving/plaza/seating design for Times Square, created by Snøhetta. Dark pavers inset with reflective stainless steel discs will provide a muted backdrop for the area's frenzy of light and crowds. Monumental benches, with concealed electrical infrastructure for events, will provide a variety of seating, lounging, and viewing options. Moreover, the project signals the Bloomberg administration's desire to make its pedestrian plazas permanent.
Just in time for Valentines Day, today the Times Square Alliance and Design Trust for Public Space officially opened Situ Studio’s Heartwalk, a heart-shaped installation constructed of salvaged boards that once made up the boardwalks in Long Beach, Sea Girt, and Atlantic City, to the public. Heartwalk is the winner of the 5th annual Time Square Valentines Day Design competition, taking its cue, in subject matter and materials, from the “collective experience of Hurricane Sandy and the love that binds people together during trying times,” according to Times Square Alliance. Check out the installation "in the heart of Times Square" through March 8, 2013.
Next week, the fifth iteration of the Times Square Alliance's Valentine Heart installation will officially open to the public. Brooklyn-based Situ Studio revealed their installation, Heartwalk, in January, which will be built with salvaged boardwalk boards from from the Hurricane Sandy-stricken Rockaways, Long Beach, Sea Girt, NJ, and Atlantic City. The Situ team has been busy removing hardware from the weathered planks and planing them for a smooth surface. The pre-assembled pieces will be taken to Times Square for assembly, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on February 12 at 11:00a.m. According to a statement from Situ Studio, "Visitors can enter the installation itself and literally stand in the heart of the world’s greatest city."
The fifth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design has been awarded to Situ Studio. The Brooklyn-based architecture firm presented a design that features "boardwalk boards salvaged during Sandy’s aftermath—from Long Beach, New York; Sea Girt, New Jersey; and Atlantic City, New Jersey. " The project titled Heartwalk is described "as two ribbons of wooden planks that fluidly lift from the ground to form a heart shaped enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square." The competition was cosponsored by Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborated with Design Trust for Public Space. The installation opens on Tuesday, February 12, and remain on view until March 8, 2013.
Opening today for Veterans Day, a new pavilion designed by Brooklyn-based Matter Architecture Practice aims to bring a little Peace and Quiet to the hectic liveliness of Times Square. The new temporary pavilion, built yesterday and set to remain standing through November 16 is described as a "dialogue station" by its architects. "It is a tranquil place to meet, share stories, leave a note, shake hands, or meet a veteran in person," Matter continues on its website. Times Square "seemed the ideal circumstance (or mad challenge) to initiate and inform a poignant exchange of ideas, to will intimacy in an instance of its opposite." Matter's principals, Sandra Wheeler and Alfred Zollinger, proposed the pavilion as part of the Times Square Alliance's Public Art Program's call for proposals. The project was selected from around 400 entries and later funded through Kickstarter. Located at the opposite end of Times Square from the US Army Recruiting Station, Peace and Quiet aims to provide a refuge and portal for veterans returning to civilian life to meaningfully engage with a public that the veterans might not otherwise encounter. The pavilion provides an opportunity for quiet discussion in the middle of one of New York's busiest public spaces where 500,000 people pass through daily. "Discussions between civilians and veterans often fall prey to judgment, stereotypes, or bi-partisan politics simply because these two groups do not know enough about one another," said Wheeler in a statement. "Through conversations focusing on the human experience, we’ve been surprised to discover that there is significantly more common ground than one would think. These are the kinds of conversations we, as a civic society, need to have." Peace and Quiet is open daily at the foor of the TKTS steps in Times Square from 12:00pm until 8:00pm through November 16.
Next time you are in Times Square, don't be shy when you see a spotlight-- no matter how lame your dance moves are, you are guaranteed an explosive roar of applause from an invisible, enthusiastic crowd of people as long as you are moving. (What a refreshing departure from the notorious American Idol jury.) This location-appropriate spotlight installation is an interactive public art work by Adam Frank, an installation artist and a product inventor, whose body of work "represents an ongoing investigation of light and interactivity." His shadow-casting oil lamp, LUMEN, is one of the MoMA Store’s best-selling items. Frank's Performer installation near Times Square--a spotlight, speakers, and an "auto-affirmation" machine--provides a virtual 500-person audience culled from hundreds of live recorded reactions, such as clapping, whistling, hooting, and mumbling. Unsuspecting visitors passing by will only see a spotlight, while speakers, motion sensor, and wiring are cleverly hidden in the semi-enclosed breezeway, a location that effectively provides an open acoustic environment that can make the mechanics of the installation invisible. While the recorded enthusiasm begins when someone walks into the spotlight, it will increase or decrease depending on the performer's motion. There are even uncomfortable coughs and awkward throat-clearings if you stop being charming by standing still. "Performer flips the typical viewer-and-artwork relationship: the viewer's performance is necessary to activate and control the work," said Frank. This reversal of roles is especially potent against the backdrop of the flashy Theater District, where normally a passive, receptive role is expected. "Over a year ago, we got over 400 responses to our open call for art projects in Times Square--the second we saw this, we knew we wanted to do it, " said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. "For over 100 years, Times Square has been a magnet for people who love being in the spotlight, and that particular phenomenon has only intensified, with technology's help, in recent years." While Tompkins rightly points out the relationship between technology and stardom--what with all the Youtube fames, blog stardom and whatnot--what modern technology enabled us to do may not be true to the classic concept of being a star, a performer--a light-and-stage kind, a la old Broadway. Instead, more and more "stars" are born off-stage, often secluded in their dark room with a brightly-lit Macbook. Frank's Performer, then, is a classic throwback, demanding a public performance with a physical spotlight (but with a forgiving audience). So next time you want to practice for that dreaded final review or presentation, bring your architectural models to the most easygoing 500-people panel of all. WHEN: Open to the public Oct 13th to Nov 22nd WHERE: Anita's Way at the Bank of America Tower, One Bryant Park (Passageway connecting West 42nd and West 43rd St.) Photos by Ariel Rosenstock.