Decoding Design

Times Square's $45 million makeover

Times Square's $45 million makeover

Posting in Architecture

With the help of Norwegian architects, NYC has a plan to make Times Square a pedestrian plaza that rivals the world's best.

Copyright MIR

Times Square is about to get a $45 million facelift. Stemming from the successful 2009 pilot project that closed off parts of the Great White Way to vehicular traffic, the Times Square Reconstruction will create pedestrian oriented public space on a world class level.

Some 360,000 people walk through the area every day, causing pedestrian gridlock and strain on overloaded streets and sidewalks. So the plan focuses on ground level and infrastructure improvements. The redesign is being led by Norwegian architecture firm Snohetta, who are known for designing socially engaging buildings and landscapes.

What are some of the changes included in the multi-million dollar makeover?
- Accessibility upgrades to pavement such as curb cuts and truncated domes (raised domes for visually impaired) made of stone, which is more durable than the usual ceramic
- Sleek steel pucks embedded in the pavement that act as accent light by reflecting the neon lights
- Centrally located seating zones so that people walking can pass by on the outside and people sitting don't feel they are in the way
- Textured surface materials that improve drainage by directing rainwater
- Filling in areas areas around the leftover curbs to create level plazas that feel separated from car traffic
- Power and data wiring hidden in benches to accommodate big events instead of bringing in generators

The effort to improve Times Square is meant to give the area back to local New Yorkers who work in and pass through the area as well as create a safe and approachable environment for the millions of tourists who visit the city.

Via: Fast Company September 2012, Times Square Alliance
Images: courtesy Snohetta, MIR

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure