Although Snøhetta Architects' revamp of New York's Time Square may not transform the iconic landmark completely, the massive reconstruction project will bring quite a few noticeable changes to the area. In addition to swanky new pavement and upgraded underground infrastructure, the Norwegian design team is installing 11 new granite benches that will not only add to the pedestrian experience, but will also upgrade the popular plaza's ability to entertain.
City benches are fairly ubiquitous in most urban design projects, but the new Times Square benches will be pulling double duty as a major power supply. Each granite block, which will range from 30- to 50-feet-long, will hide a system of fiber-optic cables and conduits. Each bench will be connected to the city’s power grid and will have the capacity to power anything from an electric guitar to a full-on rock concert.
According to Snøhetta principal Craig Dykers, the plaza was in dire need of an electrical update. “It’s a big event, to have a show in Times Square. Everything has to be dragged in, and it’s part of the reason why Times Square was mutilated over the years, because of all the heavy machinery and cables that get dragged in and out.”
The firm’s Times Square renovation is just about half-way through and is estimated for completion in late 2016. When everything is done, the 11 benches, which will tap into ConEdison’s power supply, will be a modern, uncluttered way to provide energy for street performances of any level. According to the design, each plug-in point will connect to 400-amp, 200-amp, and 20-amp power sources. However, in case you’re looking for a new career as a street rocker, know that the sockets will be protected by stainless steel locks and can only be used with permission from the city.
Images via Snøhetta