Waiting is a phenomenological condition that is intrinsic to human experience. However, waiting typically feels like empty time, something to be avoided. As we wait, duration rather than the seamless flow of time comes to the forefront of our consciousness. For the urban dweller, the subway platform is a paradigmatic case to exemplify this elevated awareness of stalled time. Using the West 4th Street Subway Station as a focal point, this thesis attempts to mediate the experience of waiting through a re-imagining of the spatial characteristics of the platform, the objects that constitute this environment, and the way in which these conditions inform our behavior as we wait for the train. The aim is to shed light on the ability of the interior designer to change the quality of space and time. By making a more provocative place to wait, not only will people find their experience of waiting more enjoyable, but the length of the wait will also seem shorter. Using the existing vocabulary of the subway platform, and the addition of new material, light and objects, the platform becomes not just a space, but a series of places. Placemaking creates a dynamic experience for the user, breaking up the monotony, banality and rigidity of the platform. This changes no only how we wait, but also how much time feels as though has passed while we are waiting.
Thesis Advisor: Peter Wheelwright