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Projects /International/ All Categories/ The most beautiful pile of steel in the world
The most beautiful pile of steel in the world
The Port Authority Bus Terminal, on Eighth Avenue just blocks from Times Square, is considered one of the ugliest buildings in all of New York City. But it looks like that's about to change... kind of.

By the end of June, the Port Authority Bus Terminal's northeast facade on the corner of 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue will be completely redesigned to boast a massive LED screen that will light up the boxy building a la Times Square.

Using a 6,000 square foot stainless steel fabric embedded with LED lights, the entire structure will be lit up with graphics and lighting design through a large scale application called Mediamesh, developed by GKD-USA, collaboration between a German light engineer firm and an American metal fabric manufacturer. This isn't the first time Mediamesh has been seen in the Big Apple. Crowne Plaza Hotel at 1605 Broadway (between 48th and 49th Streets) has done something similar albeit, in a much smaller scale.

The product is fairly new technology - only about four years old. It allows for LED imagery to "wrap around buildings without disrupting interior views to the outside." In this case, the mesh will also allow exhaust fumes to escape, and will hide the ugly giant X-trusses that make up the majority of the facade. The Port Authority plans to use the Mediamesh for advertising space.

Mediamesh is a stainless steel fabric in which LED lights are embedded. It is a tensile structure, which means that "all of its elements are in tension with no compression or bending." This allows for it to hang over large areas with very little steel support. While on the outside the uninviting facade will be completely covered, from the inside, one will still be able to get a good view of outside.

Although still not very attractive to look at for the time being, the Port Authority does get credit for trying to make an improvement and implement some green technology to a building that hasn't changed much in the past 50 years. The LED lights will add a much needed aesthetic relief to a structure that as of now, nowhere near matches the light display of surrounding Times Square. But then again, that dark and gritty industrial appearance does give it that New York feel.