Times Square is viewed as the most dynamic urban place in the world, but fundamentally it is a collection of individual buildings with sign “spectaculars” applied to their surfaces. The design of the American Eagle Outfitters Times Square project turns this traditional notion of a “spectacular” on its head. The ultimate integration of technology, content, and scale, the AEO Flagship Spectacular is a dynamic canvas, executed on a massive scale, fueled with content that perpetually changes to define what is in essence “living architecture.” The goal of projects like the AEO Flagship is to use the concept of living architecture to fundamentally change the perception of Times Square from a place defined by signs to an urban environment where architecture and dynamic content are one and the same.
In contrast to the flat, rectangular LED screens that proliferate on Times Square, The Barnycz Group designed a sculptural, 12-faceted display system (including a 125-ft. tower) that serves as a dynamic canvas for American Eagle content. By delivering content to the uniquely shaped, dimensional display elements in infinite combinations, the system creates the illusion of morphing building shapes, varied scales, and changing elevations. Content can be manipulated to unify the structure into a singular expression or purposefully segment it into individualized, micro and macro expressions intended to celebrate specific facets of the architecture and viewing corridors. The fully programmable system, designed to run off an iPhone, orchestrates content an average of 18 hours per day. With its multiple facets, the display makes content viewable from the multiple viewing corridors afforded by Times Square.
New LED technology leverages different resolutions, allowing the dynamic facades to be more cost effective, sustainable, and attractive. The 12-faceted assemblage of Barco LED panels (more than 15,000 sq. ft. in total) includes three different visualization solutions combined to provide a unique palette for the American Eagle brand. The building’s facade is wrapped with 1,441 TF-20 LED panels on the 12 surfaces, for a total pixel count nearing 3.3 million. The weather-resistant LED panels are designed for rugged outdoor environments, and the display can deliver 281 trillion colors.
In the store’s outdoor foyer, the ceiling is comprised of 1,665 Barco OLite 612 modules, specially designed for optimum viewing at very close distances. To complete the visualization package, immediately inside the store is a bank of 21 Barco NSL-46-in. LCD monitors arranged in a 3-x7 array. Purpose-built for near-seamless presentation, these monitors allow branded content to be displayed in its native resolution, without any loss of image quality.
Atop the 125-ft. tower, 6-ft. aluminum channel letters lit by two-stroke neon identify the store and are a nod to Times Square’s retro sign structures.
The Barnycz Group
American Eagle Outfitters (content), Bar Architecture (store architecture), Tom Rectenwald Construction (general contractors), Scott Lewis (structural engineers), Lilker Associates (electrical engineers), JK Design Group (exterior thematic lighting)
Barco (LEDs), North Shore Neon Sign (LED and signage installation, channel letter fabrication), Hanover Signs (canopy and under-canopy signage)