TKTS lights up Times Square
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TKTS Booth advances structural use of laminated glass
The all-glass TKTS booth in New York City accomplishes a near impossible feat—it stands out, even in the middle of Times Square. The $19 million all-glass, load-bearing structure in Father Duffy Square serves as the bustling discount outlet for same-day Broadway show tickets, and also acts as a public amphitheater featuring 27 glowing red glass steps illuminated by light-emitting diodes.
“This structure is one of a kind, possibly the first all-glass load-bearing building structure. Although small, it has been challenging for all parties to implement the concept and novel engineering attributes,” says Radhi Majmudar, principal, vice president, for New York's Dewhurst Macfarlane and Partners PC, the structural engineer, and structural and facade consultant on the job. “Given its location and innovative characteristics, it will stand out boldly in the middle of Times Square.”
The design for the architectural centerpiece was inspired by Australian architectural firm Choi Ropiha, the winner of an international ideas competition. Perkins Eastman, New York, executed the design.
Nick Leahy, the principal at Perkins Eastman who led the design team for the TKTS Booth, echoed Majmudar’s sentiment in a Perkins Eastman press release. “The simple elegance of the design belies the extreme complexity of the structural solution. This was only possible through a concentrated, collaborative effort using cutting-edge glass technology and working with the world’s leading industry experts,” he said.
Photo by Stephanie Chan, Brooklyn, N.Y.
The structure consists of the glass steps and glass structural supports, and a free-standing fiberglass ticket booth, surrounded by side glass walls. The project features pieces of Diamant Glass from Saint-Gobain, France, enveloping the white fiberglass ticket pod. The glass steps consist of three layers of Diamant ultra-clear laminated with a red interlayer and is surface treated for slip-resistance. All of the glass panels were manufactured at Saint-Gobain’s Eckelt Glas factory in Austria.
The glass on the 1 ½-inch thick stair treads is heat-treated and laminated, and the front and mid-bearing walls are 2-inch thick laminated glass with Sentry Glass Plus interlayers from DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions, Wilmington, Del. “The structure is designed for a live load of 100 pounds per square foot under regular loading and 50 pounds per square foot under redundancy,” Majmudar says.
The steps are 45 feet wide at the top, tapering to 32 feet. The treads are 2 feet deep, and panels under the steps supply heat to melt snow and cooling for the LEDs that illuminate the entire staircase, according to a Perkins Eastman release.
The treads are staggered and span several stringers—28-foot long beams of three double-laminated sections that provide lateral bracing for the structure. “The steps terminate in a large cantilevered canopy that protects the ticket buyers,” Majmudar says.
Majmudar says the complex nature of the structure and the load requirements presented hefty engineering challenges for the team.
“We've never really done a structure as large as this, all in glass, without load-bearing metal to support. Glass has very strong compressive capacity, but the challenge here from a structural engineering and glass perspective was to transfer the loads via connections in the structure,” she says.
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based David Shuldiner Inc. served as the general contractor and completed the glazing installation.