TKTS ticket centre in New YorkÕs Times Square was designed to replace an
existing structure. The boothÕs main function was to sell discounted theatre
tickets and had to accommodate up to 3,000 people queuing to buy tickets
at one time.
The building, essentially sited on a traffic island, had to have an identity that was immediately recognisable, but also be a natural part of one of the most physically and visually busy landmarks in the world. The buildingÕs architectural coherence stems from there being only two main elements. An orthogonally organised ground level and in contrast an organic screen at the upper level, both clearly executing their own functions. At ground level a series of translucent and transparent booths dispense the tickets; at the head of each sales booth is a coloured digital display indicative of where and when customers can move through. A thin wire mesh envelopes the lower level to assist crowd control, security and add an additional see-through skin to the already layered architectural language of the building. At the upper level are administrative galleries surrounded by an undulating mechanical curtain which is perhaps the element that characterises the structure. The curtain is a chameleon, constructed with a series of electronically operated triangular fins. These fins rotate in echelon allowing either a constant or varied form of display. The first facet has a digitally controlled lighting matrix allowing information to be spelt out in light. The second facet is a painterly band of cobalt blue, allowing partial or total relief and contrast to the visual cacophony of Times Square. The third facet may contain dedicated advertising or it might be a mirrored surface, reflecting its surroundings and by doing so disappear. This changing ribbon allows the building to be contrastingly assertive one moment to clearly informative the next, or simply be absorbed by its surroundings.