Dezeen Magazine

CLB places steel "chapel" in Times Square for NYCxDesign

American studio CLB Architects has created a circular wood-and-steel "chapel" in New York City's Times Square to mark the return of the city's annual NYCxDesign festival.

The project, dubbed Filter, was commissioned by Design Pavilion, a local organization that builds public art installations.

clb steel chapel times square
CLB has designed a "steel chapel" as a temporary installation in Times Square. Photo is by Kevin Scott. Header photo is by Leonid Furmansky

The installation was initially set to be built for the 2020 edition of the city's annual design festival but was pushed back several times due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Created for Design Pavilion and the NYCxDesign Festival, Filter carves out space for quiet recentering within the frenetic energy of Times Square," said CLB Architects, a studio with offices in Jackson, Wyoming, and Bozeman, Montana.

steel chapel NYC
The circular structure is made with folded weathering-steel plates. The photo is by Leonid Furmansky

"Designed as both a monumental object and an ephemeral experience, the pavilion establishes a new node in the heart of New York City’s urban fabric – reorienting that experience toward the natural, rather than the man-made," the studio added.

Two wooden ramps at opposite ends of the circular structure lead up to openings in the steel enclosure. The walls of the pavilion are made of large, folded steel plates that were cut to allow visibility through the structure.

steel chapel times square
The space provides a space for reflection in the middle of busy Times Square. The photo is by Leonid Furmansky

They rise to 20 feet (6 metres) tall and form a circle with a diameter of 24 feet (7.35 metres).

"Fluid shards of naturally weathered steel invite close inspection, and a gentle ramp leads around the perimeter, offering views of the space held within," said the architects.

The steel plates were spaced apart to create lines of sight. The photo is by Kevin Scott

A tree occupies the centre of the structure, marking a contrast with the urban context of Times Square. Around the perimeter of the space, V-shaped benches nest into the steel panels, offering visitors a place to briefly sit.

The installation was financially supported by Emit, an industrial manufacturing company based in Sheridan, Wyoming that also participated in manufacturing the steel components used for the pavilion.

steel beam sculpture in the middle of time square
There are benches around the interior on a slightly elevated wooden platform. The photo is by Andres Orozco

After NYCxDesign, the installation will be disassembled and returned to Wyoming to be installed outside the company's offices, while the tree will be donated to the New York City non-profit The Battery Conservancy.

"When it completes its cycle and reaches its final resting point in Sheridan, FILTER’s patina will reflect the accumulations of both dry western air and East Coast salinity," said the architects.

It was installed this week and will open to the public from May 7 through May 15.

NYCxDesign is an annual festival that is celebrating its tenth edition. The festival will run from May 10 to May 20 and showcase the best of New York City's design and architecture scene in a series of virtual and in-person events across the city.

tree in steel platform
A tree sits in the middle of the installation. The photo is by Andres Orozco

CLB Architects has recently completed another public art installation in the American West, using glue-laminated timber panels to create a gathering space for the town of Bozeman.

Other public art installations around the USA include a range of sculptures by Wevolve Labs in Austin that are inspired by local plants and birds and an oversized playground designed by Architensions for Coachella.

Project credits:
Architect: CLB Architects
Exhibit patron, steel supplier and fabricator: EMIT
Wood supplier and wood fabricator: Spearhead
Builder: Dowbuilt
Structural engineer: KL&A, Inc.
Lighting designer: HELIUS
Light fixture provider: B-K Lighting
Tree provider: Raemelton Farm
Lighting contractor: Apollo Electric