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Whole Hearts: Proposal for Times Square 

New York, NY
Times Square Alliance and The Center for Architecture
Completed, August 2018
Museum/Gallery, Cultural, Institution, Public Space
10,500 SF
Nahyun Hwang, David Eugin Moon, Violette Ying, Seda Oznal  
Robert Silman Associates Structural Engineers  

The proposal is an inhabitable sculpture that frames new interactions and relationships. Composed of a group of dynamically arranged and connected small pavilions and scattered seats, the project offers a strong and animated sculptural presence when seen from outside or afar, while framing the vibrant life of Times Square and the seasonal theme of Valentine’s Day as dynamic geometries that complete or evoke the shape of a heart. At more intimate scales the project prompts serendipitous chance encounters and interaction among strangers as visitors find a “paired” seat with matching shades or share the moment of repose in the middle of the city.

Inspired by a spirit of generosity and kindness, in its after-life, the project continues the theme of caring by addressing the sometime inequitable sharing of resources as each pavilion within the pavilion is designed to be distributed and re-used as a framework for new gazebo structures in the selected community gardens across the city. The collective form achieved by connecting canopies allows for an urban scale structure at the iconic location. Distributed in the intimate settings of community gardens, the structures engage various environmental and ecological initiatives and become infrastructure for new collaborations, knowledge, and friendship.

The project as situated at Times Square is composed of two components - the circular canopy frames and benches - that are both divided and distributed as half units. The whole circles of canopies, as they are separated, tilted, and shifted from their original pairs, generate multiple heart shapes that dynamically change per viewers’ movements, heights, and viewing angles, becoming a focal point and a backdrop for the festivities and collective activities including the Times Square Alliance’s programming. The project can serve as an excellent base for performances and events with the possibility of utilizing the frames for additional backdrops, projections, portable lighting and music equipment etc. The benches function at a much more personal and intimate level, as the color-coded pairs make new connections if the users wish. Both elements are designed to evoke multiple scales and readings of love, affection, and kindness, and engage the visitors and prompt new conversations and activities while producing unusual visual and spatial experiences.

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