Eventually, the Columbus Circle station will feature an entry rotunda and business women on their cell phones. (Courtesy of Dattner Architects.)
A trip though the 59th Street-Columbus Circle these days can be something of an adventure. Blue construction walls dot the upstairs IRT platforms, and construction crews and the tell-tale signs of renovations mark the IND platforms downstairs. With big, temporary support columns in place and an aura of construction chaos permeating the station, I’ve long wondered what the plans are for this popular station.
For hints about this mysterious work, the MTA’s construction Website is no help. Since this isn’t a capital construction project, there is no information about these renovations. But a few Google searches revealed that Dattner Architects, the firm behind a number of subway plans including the new entrance at 72nd St. on the IRT, and Parson Brinckerhoff, the architectural firm descended from the original designers of the subway, are spearheading this project.
And lucky for us, the Dattner Website is chock full ‘o information. Let’s head to the project page on the rehabilitation of the Columbus Circle stop. According to Dattner, here’s what’s happening at 59th Street behind those blue walls.
The Columbus Circle Station project organizes, rehabilitates and restores the sprawling station complex at Columbus Circle. A new entrance at West 60th Street makes entry to the complex more convenient and eases passenger flow. New elevators provide handicapped accessibility. Circular and oval elements at key entrances mark important parts of the station, provide a sense of place, and facilitate wayfinding for passengers. A retail galleria is proposed for the passage between West 57th and West 58th Streets. Landmark elements of the IRT Station are preserved and restored. Joint Venture with Parsons Brinckerhoff.
So I think that’s architectural speak for making the station an ADA-compliant commercial hub that is easier to navigate and looks pretty. We won’t get to enjoy the completed station until 2009 at the earliest, but let’s look at some more pretty pictures after the jump. All of these pictures are from Dattner’s renderings.
An underground shopping plaza will line the station plaza from 58th St. to 57th St. I’m sure quality retail establishments will fill that space!
The completed mezzanine above the IND platforms will be spacious and airy, reminiscent of the way the Times Square station now appears.
The abandoned center platform on the IND level will again be reopened as a passageway for pedestrians but train doors will not open onto this platform.
The mosaic decorations on the IND line will resemble the weird stylized number design that Dattner first installed in the subways at the IND stop in Times Square.
The MTA Arts for Transit program will also serve to beautify this renovated station.
Good stuff here from Dattner. The 59th Street-Columbus Circle station has long needed a makeover. Now, with the ridiculous upscale shopping mall in the Time Warner Center and big companies filling up that building’s office space, more people than ever before are passing through that station. These renovations should bring 59th St. into the 21st Century and provide a jewel station for the IND and IRT lines.