Call for Proposals: reNEWable Times Square

Detail of a photograph by Flickr user m:k.
Detail of a photograph by Flickr user m:k.

Calling all architects, designers and artists! Now that the city has made the Times Square pedestrian plazas permanent, the Department of Transportation is launching a design competition to “refresh” the existing temporary treatments while the longer, separate process begins to design the permanent plazas and undergo a capital street reconstruction project. The updated temporary plazas are expected to be in use for approximately eight months and will be installed by mid-July. We’ve been keeping our eye on the Green Light for Midtown program since its inception and are excited to see the responses to this RFP. Check out the competition info below and contribute your ideas.

The DOT press release states:

By refreshing the temporary treatments now in place on Broadway from 47th to 42nd Streets with a series of economical, temporary surface treatments, the City will ensure these places remain vibrant, inviting and dynamic as the longer design process moves forward to transform these spaces permanently. Professional artists and designers may submit designs. Simultaneously, the capital process will begin 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.

“New York City is the world’s greatest stage for urban design and streetscape innovation, and no place offers as much energy and character as Times Square,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “As we lay the groundwork for permanent changes, we invite artists and designers to put their own mark on an area that 350,000 pedestrians walk through daily.”

The Request for Proposal (RFP), titled “reNEWable Times Square,” challenges artists and designers living and working in New York City to think boldly about their vision for the temporary plazas, carefully weighing design components along with factors that will enhance pedestrians’ experiences and improve the setting for the many trademark events Times Square houses annually, such as serving as the anchor for New Year’s Eve celebrations around the country. Designs also must accommodate different “use zones” such as fire lanes, crosswalks, seating areas and pedestrian zones.

The deadline to submit proposals is April 16, 2010. The competition is open to professional artists and designers living and working in New York City. For more information, check in with the DOT website — the formal Request for Proposals will be posted by 5pm.

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.