Urban Design Architecture TKTS Booth, New York
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The TKTS Booth and the Redevelopment of Father Duffy Square in New York, USA, designed by Perkins Eastman, USA (Architect), Choi Ropiha, Australia (Concept Architect), William Fellows/ PKSB (Plaza Architect), Dewhurst MacFarlane and Partners (Structural Engineer) has won the World’s Best New & Old Building award at the prestigious World Architecture Festival Awards (WAF Awards) 2009.
A recognition that as one of the world’s great gathering points and a focus of urban theatre, Times Square had nowhere for people to sit and enjoy the passing show, no arrival marker, no place for a Kodak moment.
The new TKTS booth and the redevelopment of Father Duffy Square create a new center for Times Square, one of the world’s most popular and iconic destinations. The striking red lacquered ticket booth, situated in one of the busiest and noisiest (both acoustically and visually) intersections in the world. The ticket booth and its steps give new life to the existing square and statue of Father Duffy, so that they become a usable and vibrant venue in the heart of the big apple. The iconic building is also featured Jay Z and Alisha Keys’ ‘New York State of Mind’.
The design show about how the new building managed to recapture the public ground as a result of clever lateral thinking, making use of the roof in a most welcoming way. It creates a vibrant and welcoming little public stage in the middle of New York´s Theater District, and it does so without compromise, using backlit structural glass for the steps to achieve superb visibility in a very challenging environment of large towers with glaring light boards and often furious traffic.
Started n 1999 with an international design competition (initiated by Theatre Development Fund and sponsored the Van Alen Institute) to re-design the popular TKTS booth at the heart of Times Square, the Australian firm Choi Ropiha reframed the problem as one requiring a broader urban design response to invigorate and provide a center for Times Square.
Choi Ropiha’s design solution was a series of red resin steps rising from ground level atop a steel frame to form both a roof for TKTS’s operations and a grandstand where TKTS patrons and visitors alike could pause to take in the ‘theatre’ of Times Square whilst creating a built form that is ‘un-building like.’ It was a stroke of genius that expanded the focus of the project and ultimately led to a complete reconsideration of the plaza and examination of how this project could energize the urban environment of Times Square.
In 2001, Perkins Eastman was brought on board to evaluate the Choi Ropiha scheme. The firm developed several approaches and from those a final design which was informed and inspired by the original concept but also used a distinctly 21st Century set of approaches: glass would now be employed as the TKTS Booth’s sole structural component for the steps and the TKTS Booth itself would be a free standing within the glass enclosure.
Cutting-edge technology was integrated throughout the lighting and mechanical systems as well. LED arrays beneath the steps create buoyant luminescence underfoot. Five geothermal wells circulate a water/glycol mix 450 feet below Broadway and back again through heat exchangers that cool the interior in summer, warm it in winter and even keep the staircase ice free.
Completing the transformation of Father Duffy Square itself was the work of William Fellows. Fellows transformed the public space of the square to allow for increased pedestrian traffic and more prominence for Father Duffy’s commanding statue. The basic intention was to take back the center and reorient the pedestrian to encompass the entirety of Duffy Square. Fellows eliminated superfluous elements, redesigned the pavement in a neutral palate and extended two knee-high walls from the building’s southern base to orient pedestrian traffic from the outer margins to the square’s center and ultimately up the red glass steps where views of the world’s greatest show await. [images]
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