Times Square houses vast office spaces and kaleidoscopic advertisements, but few people call it home. Vacant office buildings and the spaces in the shadows behind billboards hold underutilized real estate that can be reclaimed and adapted into residential space and public amenities.
Dividing the surface of the billboards across a series of operable louvers exploits the angles of different perspectives by allowing light to enter from above or from the side while maintaining a unified image for pedestrians below. In addition, the revenue generated from the ad space can subsidize the housing and amenities within. 2D real estate funds 3D real estate.
One Times Square–with its steel skeleton and shroud of billboards–is a prime candidate for such a conversion to residential space, ushering in local residents as well as the new year. The peripheral billboards that define Times Square can begin to hold public amenities that are likewise needed. The common area in between can become a permanent dining space, encouraging people to slow down and share a meal together.
Humanizing the program of Times Square by appropriating these spaces changes the relationship between the commercial and residential space, slowing down Midtown and creating a hospitable and livable place.