For years, visitors to Times Square’s discount theater ticket booth braved lines that coiled around a temporary structure which, while innovative at the time of its construction in 1973, had stuck around far past its sell-by date. New York–based Perkins Eastman changed that when it unveiled a glowing glass structure—inspired by an unbuilt 1999 competition-winning scheme by Australian architect Choi Ropiha—that is as much of a spectacle as the Broadway shows themselves.
The new structure offers much to be smitten with, from a glass cantilevered canopy to geothermal wells, but what the jury really loved were the glass stringer beams that support the structure’s glowing red staircase-cum-roof; it’s a place for visitors to sit, relax, and enjoy the street theater of Times Square. In the words of juror Craig Hodgetts, “I saw that and I just about lost it. I can’t believe they actually hold all those people up on those glass beams and walls.”
Spanning 28 feet, the beams are made from six layers of glass, laminated in pairs, and then spliced together to increase strength and durability. Since precision was key, the beams were held to a 2-mm tolerance over the course of the entire span. A central saw-toothed section accommodates the red glass treads of the staircase—27 steps in all. Helping to support the weight of the treads are 7-foot-wide, 17-foot-tall glass bearing walls—at the midpoint of the trusses—that weigh nearly 3,000 pounds apiece. “The technology of the glass is really just great,” said juror Lauren Crahan.
The outermost stringer beams are attached to the perimeter glass panels with pins, and the beams connect at the top of the staircase to load-bearing glass walls at the ticket window and at the midpoint with bracketed joints—the stainless steel plate and hardware of which constitute the majority of the metal in the assembly.
TKTS Booth, New York
Clients Times Square Alliance; Theatre Development Fund; Coalition for Father Duffy
Architect Perkins Eastman, New York— L. Bradford Perkins, Nicholas Leahy, Charles Williams, Kazuaki Iwamoto, Shang Shuri, Zhanxi Fang, Philip Tidwell, Virginia Shou, Luke Yoo, Amra Kulenovic, Jessica Dorf, Meredith Harmon , Giaa Park (project team)
Concept Architect Choi-Ropiha Architects
Plaza Architect William Fellows Architects
Structural Engineer & Façade Consultant Dewhurst MacFarlane and Partners—Timothy Macfarlane, Michael Ludvik, David Shea, Peter Arbour, Lawrence Dewhurst, Radhi Majmudar
Preservation Architect Bresnan Architects
Construction Manager D. Haller Inc.
M/E/P Engineer Lewis Engineers
Civil & Geotechnical Engineer DMJM Harris
Lighting Consultant Fischer Marantz Stone
Design and Fabrication Engineer Haran Glass, with IG Innovation Glass
Glass Installation David Shildiner; Innovation Glass
Booth Fabrication Merrifield Roberts
Mechanical Subcontractor Trystate Mechanical
Electrical Subcontractor ASR Electrical Contractors
Pylon Fabrication Lettera Signs