One measure of architecture doing its job is when it makes ugly things pretty. New York’s WXY Architecture + Urban Design has taken the concretely blah typology of security booths, roadway barriers, and bollards and made them fancy for Brooklyn, N.Y.’s MetroTech Center, a nonprofit business improvement district.
The six booths look remarkably like skyscrapers, as they are parallelograms 5 feet wide, 7 feet long, and 12 feet high. Multilayered glass panels accent the skyskcraper motif, appearing as a building with some offices lit, some not.
The security booth serve on-site New York Police Department facilities and Federal Department of New York headquarters as a city 911 call center. They cost between $7 million and $8 million, The Wall Street Journal reports. That figure also includes the metal bollards, improvements to the street and sidewalk, and underground infrastructure.
“The message the city is delivering through projects like this one is that if we must have public security buildings, they should be designed well and adapted to the city around them,” Robbie Whelen writes for The Journal.
WXY has long focused on the public need for good architecture, including designing a revolutionary drinking fountain and a new urban bench system for New York. As principal Clailre Weisz, AIA, told ARCHITECT last October, “Our concentration is architecture in the public realm."