Appointed by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to develop a refreshed design vision and new design guidelines for the entire subway system, Grimshaw led the design for the agency’s Enhanced Station Initiative (ESI) Program. The enhancements to each station recognize the importance not only of the subway itself as the lifeblood of New York City, but of the common experience shared by the majority of New Yorkers who ride the rails.
Improvements at each station elevate the passenger experience by bringing new materials and technology to bear while honoring the heritage of the system that has served the city for over a century. More than simple makeovers, the new design vision and station design guidelines that Grimshaw developed aim to ease trips through the incorporation of technology, high-quality and durable material selections and clarified wayfinding.
The goals for the ESI extend beyond simple aesthetics to the functionality, efficiency and feel of the upgraded stations. Seeking to provide an elegant yet simple design uncluttered by unnecessary infrastructure, openness and visibility became important design drivers. Additionally, each station integrates new technology and industrial design elements that are capable of relaying relevant information where and when needed.
New entrance canopies and totems improve visibility, safety and street presence through a design that highlights New York City Transit's world-renowned Unimark graphic identifier of the New York City subway. The canopies and totems include integrated technology that maximizes system and service information distribution allowing customers to assess information at street level and creating recognizable beacons amidst a busy neighborhood.
Entry and exit specific information support passenger’s onward journeys and interagency system coordination. This new approach improves intuitive navigation and minimizes confusion, a way-finding system that aids learning and the building of mental maps. Information is progressively revealed and is future proofed for a rapidly changing city and technology.
Low turnstiles, and low height glass or metal mesh railings promote openness and increased visibility. This visibility greatly improves safety, eliminating blind spots and creating havens where customers can wait in comfort, within view of MTA employees and the information they need to properly select and board their train.
Upgraded and deliberate lighting improves atmosphere, efficiency, and navigation. Visual de-cluttering improves station legibility and clarity of system navigation. Robust finishes are used for ease of maintenance. Removing paint build up from existing structural elements and refinishing them preserves and clarifies the robust and beautiful structural bones of the system.
The stations also serve as a canvas for the MTA Art & Design program, bringing vibrant new works of public art integrated in each station. Together the improvements and enhancements signal an attention to human experience, balancing safety and comfort with the provision of an improved customer experience that can be appreciated by subway riders and passersby alike.
New York, New York, USA
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Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)