Love Letters in Times Square 
New York, NY

Love Letters riffs off of the building facades of New York City, using plywood as a material of public engagement to mimic a scrolling storefront. The installation, designed to facilitate multiple levels of participation, winds throughout the heart of Times Square to create four integrated spaces in one folding surface, providing a public infrastructure at different scales, creating both adjacency and separation. Plywood panels are alternated with mirrored windows, allowing the surface to shift with the visual landscape of Times Square and create open views between spaces. The North-South elevation of the installation is sheared on a plane that reflects the incline of the TKTS booth below the Red Steps in the Square, creating a view corridor that ties together the bronze statues of Chaplain Francis P. Duffy and George M. Cohan. Safety net — a material sympathetic to the language of rebuilding — is interwoven within the plywood, serving as a poetic armature for an outdoor respite that is visually captivating. The structure features secluded seating sections at multiple levels, giving visitors a space for meditation and reflection, and the opportunity to view Times Square safely from different vantage points. From above, the installation forms the shape of two hearts.

Love Letters invites the public to participate in the installation by leaving their own love letters within the sculpture. Continuing the ancient custom of votive offerings — the ritual of tying a ribbon to a wishing tree, or a love lock to a bridge — visitors are invited to tie a wish, a memento, or an artifact onto the netted underlay, such as letters of protest, a letter to a lost loved one, or a message of appreciation to essential workers. The public can layer on their own meanings to the plywood storefront, each an author of the installation. Over time, Love Letters will become a memorial and a beacon: a symbol of solidarity and hope.

"Soft-Firm’s winning proposal for the 2021 Times Square design competition is a poetic exploration of the transformations that 2020 wrought on our understanding of our communities. Love Letters is a beautiful architectonic expression of the line dividing our private and communal selves, explored through the new significance that plywood as a material has acquired in our collective psyche,” said Suchi Reddy, Founder of Reddymade.

The 2021 Times Square Design Competition: Love in Our Times is presented by Times Square Arts in partnership with Reddymade, founded by award-winning architect Suchi Reddy, who was the winner of the 2019 Times Square Design Competition. This year’s material constraint of plywood was developed in collaboration with and inspired by worthless studios and their Plywood Projection Project. Fabrication consultation was provided by UAP Company.

This marks the 13th anniversary of the Times Square Design Competition, which invites architecture and design firms to submit proposals for a public art installation that celebrates and communicates love throughout the month of February. Situated in front of the Red Steps each year, the competition continues Times Square’s dedication to celebrating great design — a commitment exemplified by the Red Steps themselves, which have won multiple architecture awards.

Love Letters will be the centerpiece of activities on Valentine’s Day in Times Square, including safe and socially distanced weddings, surprise proposals, and a (mostly) virtual vow renewal ceremony featuring a few select couples joining in person. For more information or for those who wish to participate, they can visit: www.TSQ.org/Love.


+Tal Liu, Lexi Tsien, Tanvi Marina Rao   + Invited Competition   
+ Architects Newspaper 



  



Chan Space
New York, NY

A five-story townhouse for interfaith studies and programs with the Ling Jiou Mountain School including a tea space and garden, a meditation space, an office, a dormitory for monks, and a pied-a-tierre for a visiting monk. (coming soon) 


Care for Hudson Square
New York, NY

PIVOT seeks to sustain what makes New York City parks amazing - spaces that create a multitude of spontaneous cultural adjacencies.

Post pandemic, open spaces are our primary spaces of connection and community activation. Our intervention seeks to sustain the organic, informal pattern of gathering safely, and layers on community amenities to allow the park to be a resource throughout the year.

As an easily deployable scaffolding, the intervention is an overlay that enhances the existing landscaping of Spring Street Park, encouraging users to democratize and adapt spaces as their own.

+ Tal Liu, Lexi Tsien + Work with Plad.co + Competition  







Horizon Machine
Watchtower

Stretching across the even, flat sands of Geroskipou Beach, the horizon draws a crisp edge between the sea and the sky. Watching the sublime serenity of the Mediterranean Sea, one experiences the beauty of the abstract landscape as if constructed inside a drawing. The Horizon Machine is composed of two prisms stacked and twisted, creating a journey that calibrates the relationship of visitors to the horizon. The structure consists of a winding triangular stair nestled within a light prismatic scaffold, reaching a height of 12 meters. As the visitor climbs, she encounters viewing platforms that bring her to a progression of key views, orienting her first towards the city, and culminating with a panoramic view of the ocean. This sequence is choreographed by the rotation of the plan by 60 degrees at the center of the tower. This shifting orientation differentiates and accommodates two program requirements. At first, the lifeguard is oriented towards the water at the tip of the tower’s triangular base. At the apex of the tower, the triangle angles its wide edge for the public to view of the horizon in a climax to their dynamic ascent.
+Competition +Henry Ng, Talitha Liu, Lexi Tsien

         

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