New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the winning design for the temporary treatments that will refresh and revive the streetscape design currently in place at the Times Square pedestrian plazas while the agency moves forward with the separate design process for the area’s permanent capital reconstruction project. Submitted by Brooklyn-based artist Molly Dilworth, the selected design is composed of a graphical representation of NASA’s infrared satellite data of Manhattan. Titled “Cool Water, Hot Island,” the artist’s concept focuses on the urban heat-island effect, where cities tend to experience warmer temperatures than rural settings. The proposed design’s color palette of striking blues and light hues reflects more sunlight and absorbs less heat—improving the look of these popular pedestrian plazas while making them more comfortable places to sit. The colors and patterns evoke water, suggesting a river flowing through the center of Times Square, and they also provide a compelling visual counterpoint to the reds, oranges and yellows of the area’s signature marquees and billboards.
“This exciting new design for Times Square marks an important next step in the evolution of one of New York’s most storied streets,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “This temporary treatment will refresh Times Square and enhance its reputation as a place to see and be seen while we work on the permanent designs for the plazas.”
“We reached out to the City’s creative community and tapped the imagination of New Yorkers to find a design to invigorate the plazas while a permanent plan is developed,” said First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris. “We are working with some of the finest architects, engineers and landscape professionals to find a fitting permanent design for one of the City’s—and the world’s—greatest stages.”
DOT launched the design competition in partnership with the Times Square Alliance (the Alliance) in March 2010, the first stage in the City’s effort to remake Times Square following Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s decision to make the plazas permanent as part of the Green Light for Midtown project. The agency received 150 submissions for designs to replace the one currently installed at the five pedestrian plazas along Broadway from 47th to 42nd streets. The winning design was selected by a jury composed of representatives from the DOT, the Alliance, the Mayor’s Office and the Design Commission.
“This brings creativity and public art to the streets—literally,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance. “It signals that the theater district—already known for creative expression indoors—is now a place for creative expression outdoors, in the most urban public space in the world.”
The new design is scheduled to be installed by mid-July. The Alliance will monitor and maintain the temporary treatments for up to 18 months as the agency initiates plans for the design and construction of permanent plazas under the Department of Design and Construction’s Design and Construction Excellence program. As part of the longer-term project, DOT and DDC are working with a team of experts—from landscape professionals to architects to engineers—to design world-class plazas with ample seating, new paving and underground infrastructure able to accommodate and enhance the signature events that are staged at Times Square throughout the year. The project will also completely reconstruct the roadways in Times Square, which have not been structurally repaired in decades. An announcement is expected later this summer. Construction on the permanent plazas is expected in 2012.
Renderings showing the current treatment and the conceptual design are on the DOT website.
For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dot.