Will LEDs and info displays seem as quaint in the 2050s as the white-walled, elevated Lincoln Center seems now? Not if architect Liz Diller has the touch her clients say she does. At a construction update today, Diller detailed how Diller Scofidio & Renfro, with FXFowle and other design specialists, plans to festoon every border of the twelve-institution center with a constant stream of showtimes and words as part of the $900 million effort to refresh the fifties-era complex. After recounting already-established plans at the press conference — a new lawn, outdoor restaurants, a sexed-up fountain — Diller told us more about the electronic displays, which, she said, will really grab passersby at key spots on 65th Street and on Broadway.
The showcase stair on Broadway between 63th and 64th Streets, now seemingly suitable only for skateboarders and snapshot-takers, will have electronic signs "tucked underneath" the edges of a wider span to lure Starbucks-sipping pedestrians. The idea is that a stair that now seems to separate the Center from Upper West Side street life will become, in Diller's phrase, "part of the façade" that signals the "erosion of the plaza." The project is scheduled for completion by 2009; who knows what other sorts of erosion will be plaguing the island after that. —Alec Appelbaum