Times Square Theatre Addition
New York City, New York
An air-rights addition and interior reconfiguration project for the 1920 Times Square Theater located on 42nd Street in Manhattan. The elevated addition included two high-resolution immersive projection theaters separated by an elevator lobby that services both. As the signage requirements for 42nd Street call for extensive coverage of building facades, the design looked to the many of the buildings of the Times Square/ 42nd street area that have moved towards the use of full flat screen digital facades. One key problem with this strategy is that such flat screen facades require extensive maintenance; as when any one screen malfunctions the entire image is negatively impacted- so referred to as a ‘broken tooth.’ Furthermore, individual screens on such buildings must all be replaced at the same time as technologies develop towards higher resolution and less cost. The design solution of instead organizing such screens into shapes such as that of a pixelated cloud, solves both problems- as any individual screen is irrelevant when seen against the whole, and more complex, composition. The image and video content would then, accordingly, be distorted using the Renaissance painting technique of anamorphosis in order to make certain advertisements and messages visible from more focused, special and particular areas such as the main Times Square subway entrance/exit on 42nd street. As historic preservation concerns were raised regarding the view, from 42nd Street of the original New York Times building on 43rd street, the design integrates a system of ‘cloaking,’ that functions by projecting the blocked view behind the constructed addition onto its front LED panels. As such, the building was designed to become the world’s first example of a technologically-enabled ‘invisible’ architecture.