Liberty Plaza Project
Back to Architecture & Installations
In New York’s financial district, an open-space revitalization project, designed to make visible the 24-hour workings of the global economy.
Developed in 1997 for the civic group Heritage Trails New York, Liberty Plaza was a proposed urban installation transforming the once-forbidding Liberty Plaza (now Zuccotti Park) into a lively gathering place, activated by large-scale electronic displays running twenty-four hours, tracking and interpreting financial markets as they unfolded around the world. In the heart of the world’s commercial capital, the project sought to make visible the 24-hour workings of the modern global economy, turning the city’s financial district “inside out” by bringing the flow of business information—once reserved for trading floors—into a public open space.
Jason Farago, New York Times
Sam Lubell, The Architect’s Newspaper
Using the ornate Gothic Revival façade of the 1907 U.S. Realty Building as a backdrop, the project featured an elevated electronic “ticker,” whose sinuous path evoked the “river” of information flowing around the world. A café would allow visitors to enjoy the sun while watching real-time financial displays and—for the first time ever—making trades on their cellphones.
An 80-foot illuminated structure provided a vertical “marker” for the project, extended by a “tower of light” rising into the night sky, proclaiming lower Manhattan as the heart of the financial world: a striking precursor, viewed today, to the “Tribute in Light” memorial that emerged independently for the World Trade Center site after 9/11.