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Broadway Development in Manhattan : TKTS Booth

Manhattan Discount outlet for sameday tickets : Duffy Square Building, NYC

Mar 25, 2010

TKTS Booth Broadway

Purpose: Discount outlet for sameday tickets with amphitheatre facing Times Square

TKTS Booth / Redevelopment of Father Duffy Square

Location: Father Duffy Square on Broadway and 47th Street, New York, United States of America

Choi Ropiha, Manly, Australia; Perkins Eastman, United States of America
William Fellows/PKSB Architects, United States of America

World Architecture Festival 2009 – Category Winner : New and old

Photographs: John Saeyong Ra

TKTS Booth TKTS Booth TKTS Booth
photos © 2009 The Australian Institute of Architects

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 project began in 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. While the competition brief simply requested designs for a small scale architectural structure to replace the existing ticket booth, Australian firm Choi Ropiha reframed the problem as one requiring a broader urban design response to invigorate and provide a center for Times Square, and won the competition.

The Choi Ropiha scheme for the project emerged from two very strong instinctual responses to the problem:

A belief that a conventional building in Times Square would undermine the powerful spatial character of the place;

A recognition that as one of the world’s great gathering points and a focus of urban theatre (both literally and metaphorically), Times Square had nowhere for people to sit and enjoy the passing show, no arrival marker, no place for a Kodak moment.

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.

TKTS Booth TKTS Booth TKTS Booth
photos © 2009 The Australian Institute of Architects

In 2001 Theatre Development Fund commissioned a feasibility study. 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. Theatre Development Fund then joined with the Times Square Alliance and the Coalition for Father Duffy. Led by the Times Square Alliance and supported by the City of New York, this consortium of private stakeholders undertook a larger project: the creation of a new TKTS booth and a newly designed plaza.

The TKTS building reflects a long collaboration between Perkins Eastman and the world’s leading glass specialists, Dewhurst McFarlane and Partners. Its visual elegance belies tremendous structural complexity: 28-foot, laminated glass stringer beams support red-tinted glass treads between glass load-bearing walls—all stronger than a comparable structure in steel. 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.

TKTS Booth TKTS Booth TKTS Booth
photos © 2009 The Australian Institute of Architects

Completing the transformation of Father Duffy Square itself was the work of William Fellows (of William Fellows Architects and now with PKSB Architects). 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.

TKTS Booth New York – Building Information

Lead Architect : Choi Ropiha, Manly, Australia
Architects: Perkins Eastman, USA / William Fellows/PKSB Architects, USA
Civil Engineer: DMJM Harris (Formerly CTE), USA
Client / Developers: City of New York / Coalition for Father Duffy / Theatre Development Fund / Times Square Alliance

Construction Manager: D.Haller Inc, USA
Glass Fabrication Engineering: Haran Glass, with IG Innovation Glass LLP, USA

TKTS Booth Broadway design : Perkins Eastman

Location: Duffy Square, New York City, USA

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