WXY Architecture and Urban Design redesign the visitor centre experience
Completed in January 2009, the New NYC Information Center prompted the invention of new ways to look at tourist information. The client, NYC & Company, desired to completely re-conceive the familiar visitor center experience. The storefront is transformed into an information portal for New York, featuring a media hybrid of architecture and interactive mapping that dramatically reshapes the way NYC visitors navigate the city.
All levels of physical and digital design are customized to extend and anticipate the contents of the new NYC-Go website and create an object-based, live experience for users. Evolving the current best practices of brochures and human guides, the project develops a new paradigm for visitor information distribution.
"FAQ" touch screen stations answer the top 100 questions and provide visual directions, quick tips, and up to the minute events that can be emailed to users on the go. For further exploration, visitors create their custom NYC guidebook using a series of multi-touch screen tables with sophisticated interactive mapping capabilities. The i-shaped, glowing "digital mirrors" that hover above these tables are guided by the universal symbol for information - a single "i" - and draw visitors through the space.
Animating the back wall, the video wall "FlyNYC" feature allows visitors to influence each other with their personal choices, or with celebrity movies and locals' tips. Itineraries are projected as a personalized helicopter ride over the City. By moving a "You Are Here" dot, visitors find curated highlights and save interesting locations. Visitors take their custom guidebook to go via an instant print-out, email, or instant message with an interactive mapping application.
Graphic banding of the floor and walls organizes the interior into coordinates, creating a "mapped," foreshortened space and simulating the intensity of the city experience. Layers of information, electronic interfaces, brochures, a video wall, and ticket and metrocard vending are incorporated into the design, resituating each individual experience and linking them as a unified system.