New York, NY
A recruiting station has been a feature of New York’s Times Square since 1946. By the late 1990’s, however, an initiative arose to rethink this building, the military’s most visible recruiting station. The commission for a modern successor came with a requirement that the design could be created within three months. In addition to the U.S. Department of Defense, our client, a variety of city, state, and federal agencies also had a hand in the decision-making. To meet this deadline and win the approval of all parties involved, ARO sought a iconic architecture that would appeal to all four branches of the Armed Services yet could also withstand the Times Square environs. Experimentation with colored fluorescents turned our attention towards the American flag. This flag need not be used merely as signage, ARO determined. Instead, it might be merged with the architecture itself to create an occupiable symbol.
The final design is a glass and stainless steel box set on traffic median where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue. Fluorescent lights coated in red, white, and blue 3M reflective gels ride between the custom window wall and its mullions. Both transparent and reflective, depending upon ambient light throughout the day and position of the viewer, ARO’s U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Station states its purpose with great clarity. By night, however, the building hums along to the neon urbanism of the 42nd Street, already acknowledged as one of New York’s future landmarks.
In the three months of design, ARO attended forty meetings for approvals from more people than could possibly fit on the site. During one such meeting, an Air Force colonel joked that if the project came in over budget, one of ARO’s two partners would be shot.
Location: New York City