Posted: October 26, 2009
By Madgalena Georgieva '10
Times Square, with its bright advertisements, smell of salty pretzels, and tourist crowds, is the epitome of chaos. When Zhanina Boyadzhieva '10 joined the New York Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies for an intensive eight-week internship this summer, she was given the opportunity to create a conceptual alternative to this chaos; she was asked to show how she would redesign the heart of Manhattan.
“I took this condition of disorder and proposed a transformation to the site to create a rich pedestrian experience for the visitor, while still keeping the spectacular nature of Times Square,” said Boyadzhieva, an architectural studies major with a French minor and a member of the Five College Architecture Club. As she worked on her project, "Times Square: The Great Pedestrian Experiment," she was supervised by prominent architects Kevin Kennon and Julia Choi.
At the institute, Boyadzhieva studied and redesigned all of Times Square to reconcile the site's spectacular nature with its social needs for landscape and more efficient circulation. She proposed an extension of the subway mezzanine, the introduction of green spaces, and new sidewalks leading to resting zones and performance areas.
“Through my project, I am rethinking the current pedestrian experience, which, I believe, is a fascinating but poorly executed idea,” said Boyadzhieva, who is now using her project as the foundation for her senior thesis.
During her internship she developed her design and graphic skills, along with her public speaking, as she presented her project to an audience of international architects, writers, and sociologists.
“I was immersed in this professional field and challenged every day. It helped me better understand my interest,” she said.
Boyadzhieva learned about the institute’s summer program through her Mount Holyoke advisor, Michael Davis, and her Five College mentor, Thom Long. She applied for summer funding through the Career Development Center and is grateful to the Center for the Environment for sponsoring her endeavor.