New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan Sunday announced the winning design for the temporary treatments that will refresh and revive the streetscape design currently in place at the Times Square pedestrian plazas while the agency moves forward with the separate design process for the area's permanent capital reconstruction project. Submitted by Brooklyn-based artist Molly Dilworth, the selected design is composed of a graphical representation of NASA's infrared satellite data of Manhattan. Titled "Cool Water, Hot Island," the artist's concept focuses on the urban heat-island effect, where cities tend to experience warmer temperatures than rural settings. The proposed design's color palette of striking blues and light hues reflects more sunlight and absorbs less heat-improving the look of these popular pedestrian plazas while making them more comfortable places to sit. The colors and patterns evoke water, suggesting a river flowing through the center of Times Square, and they also provide a compelling visual counterpoint to the reds, oranges and yellows of the area's signature marquees and billboards.
The new design is scheduled to be installed by mid-July. The Alliance will monitor and maintain the temporary treatments for up to 18 months as the agency initiates plans for the design and construction of permanent plazas under the Department of Design and Construction's Design and Construction Excellence program. As part of the longer-term project, DOT and DDC are working with a team of experts-from landscape professionals to architects to engineers-to design world-class plazas with ample seating, new paving and underground infrastructure able to accommodate and enhance the signature events that are staged at Times Square throughout the year. The project will also completely reconstruct the roadways in Times Square, which have not been structurally repaired in decades. An announcement is expected later this summer. Construction on the permanent plazas is expected in 2012.