Port Authority Bus Terminal

Location: Manhattan, NY
Completion Date: 2008


Architecural League Podcast

Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal is a destination for hundreds of thousands of commuters and travelers on a daily basis. It is the biggest bus station in the United States and the busiest in the world by traffic volume, serving over 7,000 buses and approximately 55 million riders a year. To maintain efficiency and smooth operation, Port Authority's non-stop activity relies on a complex system of ramps and gates. From the four ramps spanning Ninth Avenue between 40th and 41st Street coach and commuter bus traffic radiates throughout the region and the country, via the Lincoln Tunnel. Literally the underside of these operations, however, was the shadowy, unwelcome landscape. Leni Schwendinger was integral to the transformation of this site into an environment both pleasing and picturesque to passing pedestrians and motorists alike. Towards this objective, in 1995, Manhattan Community Board 4 embarked upon a project to ascertain the concerns and desires of the local community. Leni worked closely with the Community Board's Task Force to compile design guidelines through a community-involvement process. Subsequently Light Projects and architects PKSB Architects were awarded the commission with their proposal for a luminous and colorful architectural design solution. The design choices - from lighting to color pattern - were selected from a palette of surfaces and materials essentializing this unique urban node. Harmonizing with the I-beam engineered structure of the bridges, metal mesh is illuminated by standard lighting fixtures utilized in innovative ways. Reflective panels emit a carpet of light onto the roadbed creating a luminous urban "room" that unites a previously divided avenue and two neighborhoods.

336 West 37th Street | Studio 1410 | New York, NY 10018 | T 212.947.6282 | F 212.947.6289 |