Imagine a Times Square TKTS booth rooftop made of translucent steps that rise up, sloping northward to provide the statue of Father Duffy a brilliant backdrop at the 47th Street end of bustling Duffy Square. Being Broadway, of course, the red steps light up at night. That is a thumbnail sketch of the first prize winning entry in the international competition to redesign the Theatre Development Fund's (TDF) TKTS booth.
At a press conference held Feb. 15 at the Van Alen Institute in Manhattan, the winning entry, designed by Australians John Choi and Tai Ropiha, was cited by Times Square Business Improvement District president Brendan Sexton as being a handsome design that gave public something they have never had before -- the opportunity to actually sit in Times Square and enjoy the view.
Described as the largest architecture competition in New York City history, the TKTS2K competition netted 683 Entries from 31 Countries.
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani -- who said he often used the TKTS booth when he was a prosecutor -- was on hand at the Van Alen Institute, along with TDF's Jack Goldstein, members of the TDF board of directors, the competition jurors, the first place architects and other city officials.
The attention focused on the competition was an indication of the continuing importance of Broadway as a tourist draw as well as recognition that Duffy Square and the TKTS booth have become world renown symbols of Broadway. TDF's Jack Goldstein said that "scores of millions" of theatregoers had used the booth in its 27 years of operation. Goldstein said that the next step was to sit down and do cost-related planning of the winning design. Goldstein said he hoped work might begin within a year.
First place winners John Choi and Tai Ropiha won $5,000 cash. The second place winning design, by Ove Arup & Partners and Thomas Phifer and Partners, earned a $3,000 prize. Tied for third place were Lissoni Associates of Milan and Leo Mieles of Toronto, who shared a $2,000 prize.
The presentation pieces submitted by the winners and certain honorable mentions in the competition are available for public review at the Van Alen Institute, 30 W. 22nd St. in Manhattan. In addition to the 40 submissions displayed at Van Alen, the Municipal Art Society will be showing over 200 images from submissions.
-- By Murdoch McBride