The enlarged and enhanced Father Duffy Square, featuring Theatre Development Fund’s striking new TKTS booth under glowing glass steps, has just won two prestigious awards: Travel + Leisure Magazine’s 2009 Design Award as “Best Public Space,” which was announced in their March issue and just last night won a 2009 Design Award by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY).
As cited in the March 2009 Travel + Leisure issue, “In the heart of Times Square, amid the thronging crowds, neon lights, urgent billboards, and animated video screens—the cacophony of capitalism—the TKTS Booth has become a remarkable pedestrian destination, a small island of relative calm. Glowing red steps form the roof of the discount Broadway ticket outlet, an elevated grandstand from which to watch the world go by.”
Just last night, the project was awarded the prestigious 2009 Design Award for Architecture from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY). This merit award ‘recognizes excellent in architectural design by New York City architects and for work in New York City.”
The renovation of Father Duffy Square, the creation of the red steps and the TKTS booth, located at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue at 46th Street, was overseen by the Times Square Alliance, the Theatre Development Fund and the Coalition for Father Duffy. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined representatives from these organizations on October 16, 2008 to officially open the new space. Since its opening the red steps in Times Square have become an instant gathering place for a whole host of events including Election day and the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
“We’re delighted that Travel and Leisure and the American Institute of Architects have recognized the creation of a world-class design at one of the world’s greatest public places,” said Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins. “The glowing glass staircase, a kind of Spanish steps on steroids, has become an instant international icon.”
“We are honored to have received these awards” said Victoria Bailey, executive director of Theatre Development Fund. “From the beginning one of our aspirations for the project was that it would provide a public gathering place in Times Square where people could sit and watch the theatre of Times Square all around them. So this award is particularly thrilling for us and for our partners on the project, the Times Square Alliance and the Coalition for Father Duffy.”
The new design consists of a striking red glass stair structure encasing a custom-fabricated fiberglass TKTS booth. The amphitheatre-style staircase, 27 steps high, offers seating room for more than 500 people and has become one of the most visited attractions in the City. The state-of-the-art slip-resistant glass steps are lit from below with advanced LED technology and utilize unique geothermal-based heating and cooling technology. The plaza and steps not only create a more fitting setting for the Father Duffy statue, but also increase the amount of usable pedestrian space by 115%.
These honors add to the accolades that Times Square’s new Duffy Square has already received since its re-opening.
The project was awarded a 2007 Design Commission Award for Excellence in Design, leading Mayor Bloomberg to state that “the rebuilding of Duffy Square represents a new era in the dramatic transformation of Times Square.”
New York Magazine’s 2008 “Year in Culture” issue declared it New York City’s “New Front Stoop.” They continued by saying “the staircase dons a bit of magic...the steps become an outdoor stage, hosting a perpetual pageant of passersby.”
The New York Times said that “the best seats on Broadway are now absolutely free. (The stairs provide) a kinetic panorama: the perfect picture-postcard angle on the colossal sluice of entertainment, commerce and humanity that has bedazzled Americans and bemused foreign visitors for more than a century.”
The New York Post hailed it as “A Boffo Revival” and the New York Daily News welcomed the re-opening, stating that “the show is back on — and better than ever”
The renovation of Duffy Square grew out of an international design competition sponsored by the Theatre Development Fund. The competition garnered 683 entries from 31 countries. The design of the booth and floating red glass amphitheater is by Perkins Eastman. It was inspired by a concept by the winner of the international ideas competition, Australian-based architectural firm Choi Ropiha. Williams Fellows designed the plaza.
The Times Square Alliance founded in 1992, works to improve and promote Times Square. In addition to providing safety and sanitation services, the Alliance coordinates many major events in Times Square including New Year’s Eve, manages an Information Center and advocates on behalf of its constituents with respect to a host of public policy, planning and quality-of-life issues.
Theatre Development Fund (TDF) has played a unique role in strengthening live theatre and dance in New York City for the past 40 years. This not-for-profit service organization’s programs have filled 72 million seats at discount prices (with theatre lovers who would normally not be able to attend live performance) and returned over 1.5 billion dollars in revenue to thousands of theatre, dance and music productions. Best known for its TKTS Discount Booths, TDF’s membership, voucher, access and education programs as well as its Costume Collection, help to make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone. For more information, go to: www.tdf.org.
Coalition for Father Duffy: Comprising members of New York’s business and civic communities, as well as veterans and Irish organizations, the Coalition for Father Duffy is dedicated to honoring the memory of Father Francis Patrick Duffy, the highly decorated World War I hero and Chaplain for New York’s 69th Regiment. The Coalition’s mission is to spearhead and support the renovation and preservation of Father Duffy Square with its partners the Theatre Development Fund and the Times Square Alliance, in collaboration with various New York agencies.