Oculus - Spring 2014 - (Page 30)

feature n 2009 the Bloomberg Administration, through its energetic transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, took a bold step toward making Times Square pedestrian-friendly, closing Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets to traffic. The resulting plaza was a practical success but an aesthetic failure. Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, called the layer of scuffed and peeling paint that marked the plazas "dumpy looking." He was being kind. Now the other shoe has dropped, with the elimination of curbs that had separated the onetime traffic lanes from sidewalks. When people see curbs, says Craig Dykers, AIA, a founding partner of Snøhetta, "they think road, and when they think road, they subconsciously think danger." Snøhetta leads the team that is addressing that problem with a repaving program that eliminates vestiges of the years when cars careered down Broadway. During the brainstorming phase of the $55 million project, which includes $27 million for the new plazas and first comprehensive subsurface street reconstruction in more than a century, Dykers says, "we discussed the psychological effects of small design moves on large groups of people." With that in mind, he resisted pressure to maintain even the outlines of Broadway in the new scheme. The team eventually decided to "weave Seventh Avenue and Broadway into the shapes of the new concrete pavers," he says, "but you're never aware of the actual street line itself." The first section of the new plaza, between 42nd and 43rd Streets, was unveiled last year; the remaining sections won't be completed until 2016 or later, since the resurfacing has to await belowground infrastructure repairs. Though the Times Square Alliance will manage and maintain the plaza, it was the city's Department of Design + Construction, headed by another Bloomberg standout, David Burney, FAIA, that chose Snøhetta for the job. (Snøhetta was ©Snøhetta I Redesigning the Crossroads of the World An impressive team of NYC firms comes together to reinvent the public spaces at Times Square B Y F R E D A . B E R N S T EIN ©Snøhetta (above) Aerial perspective of the new Times Square. Rendering of one of 10 granite benches that will define and frame the area's public plazas. 30 Oculus Spring 2014 Civic Spirit: Civic Visions

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2014

Letter From the President
Letter From the Editor
Center for Architecture
Some Blocks Over
Opener: Open to the Public: Civic Space Now
The Search for the Soul of Cities
A Different Tale of Two Cities
Public Space Reasserts Its Political Role
Gatherings of One
Time to Welcome Woonerfs
Redesigning the Crossroads of the World
A Magical Place on the Water
How to Remember a Plague
Sustainable Models for a Just City
In Print
50-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Spring 2014

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