Three years after the installation of New York’s first Mediamesh facade at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the Big Apple now has its second transparent media wall at the Port Authority Bus Terminal
Located 500m from Times Square, the terminal is one of the busiest bus stations in the world. Extending over five storeys, it houses a shopping centre and stretches over two blocks between 40th and 42nd Streets and Eighth and Ninth Avenues. Yet its uncompromising gridded metal facade has earned it the soubriquet of one of the 10 ugliest buildings in the world.
Now it has been given a radical facelift with one of the world’s largest media facades. The new wall incorporates Mediamesh, a transparent advertising and communication medium made of stainless-steel mesh with integrated LED profiles. Mediamesh is manufactured by GKD, the market leader in woven metal and plastic solutions for architecture.
With 7,200 buses arriving and over 200,000 people passing through its precincts daily, the Port Authority Bus Terminal is an ideal advertising location. The Mediamesh facade
replaces an existing billboard, outclassing its predecessor in terms of size and visibility. Designed as a corner facade, both sides comprise eight panels, each measuring 10.8m high and 3.22m wide. This rectangular form can accommodate separate or continuous advertising. The scale of the location means images lose none of their brilliance, even at a distance of 80m.
Over 4 million pixels, arranged 50mm apart vertically and 425mm horizontally, ensure daylight suitability and video compatibility for large-format display. Powerful LEDs offer high-quality, pin sharp reproduction of moving images and commercials, generating a huge visual and advertising impact.
As a digital signage concept, Mediamesh boasts many features that underscore its extraordinary performance. Capable of dealing with the extremes of New York’s climate, it is waterproof and can withstand temperatures from -20°C to +70°C and windspeeds of up to 235 km/hr. The open-mesh design transforms the intake air into a weakened airflow, enabling car fumes to escape and fresh air to circulate. The system is easy to maintain and uses a sixth of the energy of conventional displays, underscoring its efficiency.
Circular rods and eyebolts were used to attach 16 Mediamesh panels to the existing structure. The major challenge was installing the facade during the normal operation of the bus station. ‘We engineered a way to carry out the installation from the roof, day and night, so as not to disturb the traffic and to ensure the building could stay fully functional,’ says Mike Leonard, technical director of Mediamesh systems for GKD-USA.
Apart from the economic benefits of advertising revenue, the system animates the existing facade, making it a symbol of new digital signage solutions. With the completion of the largest transparent media facade in the world, New York has gained yet another urban superlative, turning the Port Authority Bus Terminal into a cascade of light plugged into the rhythm of the city that never sleeps.