A more pedestrian-friendly redesign of Astor Place has been planned for years, but now appears to finally be taking off. When WXY Architecture + Urban Design created their proposal for the Astor Place redesign, they called in Local Projects to come up with a media installation, and to create a flythrough of the proposed space.
Astor Square is an interactive media installation developed as part of WXY’s planning process for Astor Square, commissioned by The New York City Department of City Planning. Pedestrians passing by the “Alamo” Cube trigger a responsive soundscape of the natural world: wind, rustling leaves, and chirping birds. As day turns to night, a visual projected landscape of leaves, trees and flowers swirls then falls to the pavement, marking the footprints of each person who passes by. When pedestrians turn the cube, the sounds of wind and weather send the leaves and flowers dancing. This urban digital “park” plays with what is natural, and reconsiders how we weave through the city.
As the 3D artist/animator for this project, I was charged with the duty of recreating Astor Place, adding WXY’s & Local Projects’ designs, and animating it all. Since accurately recreating every detail of Astor Place would be too much for one person and one computer to do in a month, I opted to instead to make very simple models and texture them with stitched & flattened photographs that I had taken of each building.