SCHOOL Parsons The New School for Design, Department of Architecture, Interior Design and Lighting, MFA Lighting Program
STUDIO/SEMESTER Thesis Studio, Spring 2006
FACULTY Derek Porter, Christine Sciulli
STUDENT Tanakorn Meennuch

Union Square in the heart of New York City has long been a central gathering place for individuals and families for relaxation, play, performance, and social protest. The density of this urban space is further enhanced as a result of the major subway transit hub located under the park, and the volume of people that traverse this station on a daily basis. This project explores “human exchange and pedestrian movement through careful re-examination of the park design and its relationship to vehicular traffic, pedestrian circulation, and subterranean space.” The design goal is “to enhance the relationship between unique subregions and focal elements within the park itself and increase the quality of the public subterranean space under the park through borrowed light.”

The lighting concept starts with a re-examination of the park's physical design ”to increase its symbolic relationship to the surrounding city infrastructure, open the park to the subway system and daylight opportunities, and form space to more appropriately serve public and private needs.” In turn, electric lighting systems are used “to give independent identity to the park's below-grade spaces and to feature iconic focal elements.” As the project synopsis describes, “By opening the park to the subway below, daylight (and natural climate conditions in certain areas) pours into these otherwise oppressive underground regions, also opening views of the sky and the surrounding city. At night, electric light bleeds from within these underground spaces, touching the dark silhouettes of trees, statues, and other park features, linking together these stratified layers of human activity through light.”