Acclaimed as the most significant addition to the Manhattan skyline in decades, The New York Times Building officially opened its doors on November 19th, 2007, with the final lighting installation completed in the fall of 2008. Conceived by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the glass and steel skyscraper is draped with a lace-like screen of thin ceramic tubes, creating an airy façade that reflects subtle changes in natural light throughout the day.
Nighttime lighting reinforces the structure’s elegance by creating a precise gradation of light along each façade, brightest at the base and tapering to a soft glow at the summit. From a distance, this gives the tower a sensation of soaring lightness on the city skyline. From close-up, pedestrian-level luminaires match architectural detailing and are selectively painted taxicab yellow, contributing to the animated Times Square district streetscape. Blending aesthetics with technology, the exterior is lit using custom-designed light clusters, precisely integrated with architectural modulation and detailing. Since the tower has no setbacks, luminaires are exclusively positioned at the building’s base and podium, and advanced optics used to create a calibrated gradation of light extending to the top of the 856’ tower.
In the lobby, lighting reinforces the building’s integrated interior and exterior architecture. By controlling illumination levels throughout the depth of the ground floor lobby areas, the scheme draws one’s gaze through a succession of spaces, including an open-air interior garden and TheTimesCenter’s glass-walled auditorium.
OVI’s lighting scheme is a pioneer in energy efficiency and ease of maintenance. Challenging the popular perception of power-wasting floodlights, the soaring 856’ façade is entirely lit using only 250-watt metal halides, and the exterior lighting employs only 42,000 watts - 80% less energy than lighting for the top of the Empire State Building alone. The entire base building uses only twelve different lamp types, all by the same manufacturer, radically simplifying maintenance requirements.