Monday 06 Jun 2011


Award banner

Lighting enhances the dynamic presence of The New York Times Building, a glass skyscraper draped with lace-like screens of thin ceramic tubes.

A precise gradation of light graces each face of the tower, brightest at the base and tapering up to a soft glow - giving a sensation of soaring lightness on the city skyline.

Creating a 856' light gradient was challenging since the tower has no ledges or setbacks on which to conceal lighting equipment. Exterior luminaires are positioned exclusively at the building's base and atop the podium. Through intense design engineering, controlled illumination stretches across the façades from these low positions, using a family of luminaires with different optics and one single lamp type - energy efficient 250-watt metal halides. Precision laser-aiming focuses illumination directly onto the facades, avoiding light spill into the night sky.

The technical achievement of using only one lamp significantly eases maintenance. The luminare's sophisticated optics technology with deeply regressed lamp, reflector and glare shielding shape the light distribution and the risk of accidental replacement with lamps of the wrong beam spread is eliminated.

The Times Square District required the design to meet stipulations for facade illumination and "visual excitement" to animate the streetscape. The lighting scheme utilizes the reflectance value of the building's off-white ceramic screen giving the visual impression of achieving light levels comparable to the structure's Times Square neighbors, while consuming very little power. Rather than using LED signage boards to generate visual interest, select luminaires are custom painted "taxi yellow", making playful reference to the cultural context of midtown traffic.

Luminaires visible from pedestrian level are precisely integrated with the building's architectural modulation. Their streamlined bracket design, rotating mounting elements and stainless-steel braided-mesh cables complement architectural details. As a result, the aesthetically inventive, technologically advanced lighting design is a seamless part of the building's architecture.

In the lobby, lighting reinforces the building's integrated interior and exterior architecture. By creating a hierarchy of light levels and focal points throughout the depth of the ground floor, a succession of transparent spaces, the scheme visually activates and connects the lobby, a central open-air garden and a glass-fronted auditorium.

Office for Visual Interaction, Inc.