Van Alen Institute to Collaborate with Times Square Arts on The 2014 Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition

  • (2013 Valentine Heart by Situ Studio in Father Duffy Square, photo by Ka-Man Tse)

    (2013 Valentine Heart by Situ Studio in Father Duffy Square, photo by Ka-Man Tse)

Times Square Celebrates the Fifth Anniversary of the Opening of the Revitalized Father Duffy Square; Honors Van Alen Institute Competition Resulting in the Design of Times Square’s Iconic Red Glass Staircase and TKTS Booth

Times Square Arts announced today they will collaborate with Van Alen Institute on the 2014 Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, celebrating five years since the opening of the revitalized Father Duffy Square and iconic Red Steps.


The 2014 Valentine Heart will be located at Father Duffy Square, between 46th and 47th Streets. Over the last six years, the Times Square Alliance has invited architecture and design firms to submit proposals for a romantic public art installation celebrating Valentine’s Day in Times Square.


The winner selected by a jury after an invited competition process will be announced in January 2014, with the installation going on view to the public in early February. Previous winners of the Times Square Valentine Heart Design include: Situ Studio (2013); BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) (2012); Freecell (2011); Moorhead & Moorhead (2010); and Gage / Clemenceau Architects (2009).


On October 16, 2008, the revitalized Father Duffy Square opened to the public, including the Theatre Development Fund’s (TDF) state-of-the-art TKTS booth under Times Square’s now iconic glowing red glass staircase. Under the vision and leadership of TDF, Van Alen Institute ran the international juried design competition, which was the largest architecture competition in New York City history at that time with 683 entrants from 31 countries. The winning concept by John Choi and Tai Ropiha (Sydney, Australia) was designed by top international architecture and design firm Perkins Eastman. The revitalization also included an expanded Duffy Square plaza designed by architect William Fellows. The project to revitalize Father Duffy Square was overseen by the Times Square Alliance, Theatre Development Fund, and the Coalition for Father Duffy.


Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said: “Van Alen Institute brought this design to Times Square and TDF fifteen years ago, which was then realized in 2008 with the opening of the new Duffy Square and final articulation of their vision. Duffy Square set a new standard for public space and design in Times Square, allowing our visitors to sit in Times Square and enjoy the ‘second best show on Broadway’ – Times Square and urban life itself.”


David van der Leer, Executive Director of Van Alen Institute, said: “We are thrilled to partner with the Times Square Alliance and to continue our involvement with this iconic New York City site, which for Van Alen began in 1999 with TKTS2K: A Competition to Design a New York Icon and resulted in today’s TKTS booth. The Valentine Heart Design Competition is the perfect way to activate and celebrate the vibrancy of Times Square.”

Victoria Bailey, Executive Director of Theatre Development Fund, said: “TDF is honored to have worked with the Times Square Alliance and the Coalition for Father Duffy to build our permanent home in Times Square. It seems almost implausible that TKTS operated out of two construction trailers for over 30 years prior to the Duffy Square revitalization. We are thrilled that the project has helped turn Duffy Square into a destination for millions from the world over in the past 5 years.” 


The proposals for the 2014 Valentine Heart Design Competition will be reviewed by representatives from the Times Square Arts Advisory Committee and Van Alen Institute’s Board of Directors, with expertise across the worlds of design, public art, and city agencies: Barry Bergdoll, The Philip Johnson Curator of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art; Stephen Cassell, Principal, Architecture Research Office; Sharon Davis, Principal, Sharon Davis Design; Wendy Feuer, Manager of Urban Design & Art, Department of Transportation; Tom Finkelpearl, Executive Director of Queens Museum of Art; Jennifer Lantzas, Public Art Coordinator, Department of Parks, City of New York; Jonathan Marvel, Principal, Marvel Architects; and Sara Reisman, Director of Percent for Art, Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional Jurors: David van der Leer, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute; Susannah Bohlke, Director of Operations, Van Alen Institute; Ellen Goldstein, VP of Planning, Policy & Design, Times Square Alliance; and Sherry Dobbin, Director of Public Art, Times Square Arts.




Times Square Arts, the public arts program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborates with contemporary artists to experiment and engage with one of the world's most iconic urban places. Acting as a laboratory for contemporary art in the public realm—a place where ideas are tested and new possibilities explored. Times Square Arts works with artists and cultural institutions to create dialogues with Times Square and all of its physical and mythological manifestations. Through the Square’s electronic billboards, public plazas, vacant areas, and popular venues, and the Alliance’s own online landscape, Times Square Arts invites leading contemporary creators to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a place of risk, innovation, and creativity, and the Arts Program ensures these qualities remain central to the district’s unique identity. Generous support by ArtPlace America and ArtWorks. Visit for more information. Follow us on Twitter @TSqArts and Instagram


Van Alen Institute is dedicated to promoting innovative thinking about the role of architecture and design in civic life. Since its founding in 1894, Van Alen has shaped the public conversation and brought design excellence to sites and cities across the United States and beyond. Its widely influential legacy of competitions includes Public Property: An Ideas Competition for Governors Island (1996), which kicked off an international conversation about Governors Island and its redevelopment as a public resource. The winning entry of TKTS2K: A Competition to Design a New York Icon (1999) was constructed as the iconic TKTS booth in Times Square, reactivating public space at the busiest pedestrian intersection in New York City. Today, Van Alen continues to develop design competitions, research, and public programs that explore the cultural, political, ecological, and economic forces that activate the built environment. Learn more at


Theatre Development Fund, a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, was created in the conviction that the live theatrical arts afford a unique expression of the human condition that must be sustained and nurtured. It is dedicated to developing diverse audiences for live theatre and dance, and strengthening the performing arts community in New York City. Since 1968, TDF’s programs have provided over 85 million people with access to performances at affordable prices and have returned over $2.2 billion to thousands of productions. Best known for its TKTS Discount Booths, TDF’s membership, outreach, access (including its newly formed Autism Theatre Initiative) and education programs — as well as its Costume Collection — have introduced thousands of people to the theatre and helped make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone, including students and people with disabilities. Recent TDF honors include a 2011 Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture, a 2012 Tony Honor for Excellence for its Open Doors Arts Education Program, a 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Award for its support of the off-Off Broadway community and a 2013 Lucille Lortel honor for “Outstanding Body of Work” in support of the Off Broadway community. For more information go to:


Media Contacts:

For Times Square Arts: Gia Storms (212) 452-5205 or Daniela Stigh, Rubenstein Communications (212) 843-8269

For Van Alen Institute: Zach Postone (212) 924-7000 or George Shea, Shea Communications (212) 627-5766


Press Contact:
Daniela Stigh
Rubenstein Communications
P: (212) 843-8269

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