Mini City Souvenir Plaza

Besler & Sons, LLC

Mini City Souvenir Plaza

Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership & Van Alen Institute
    Press Coverage:
  1. Broadway World
  2. Patch
  3. The Architect’s Newspaper
    Project Team:
  1. Erin Besler
  2. Ian Besler
  3. Georgia Pogas
  4. Carly Richman

Mini City Souvenir Plaza asks the question: “What if we threw a party and invited a bunch of buildings?”

The result transforms the Flatiron Public Plaza into a partyscape of iconic building forms and sensory experiences, populating the plaza with engaging, large-scale facades of nearby architecture. Reproduced in charming and hypnotic detail, The Flatiron Building, the Met Life Building, the Western Union Telegraph Building, and other friendly, recognizable faces from the neighborhood cluster together in a convivial and inviting atmosphere, encouraging visitors to explore the limits of recognition and the recursive visual quality of reproduction — almost like standing inside of a feedback loop. Doorways and window bays in the pavilion serve as frames, perfectly sized for smartphone cameras, to view and photograph the plaza anew, activating the surrounding cityscape as a sort of second layer, providing unexpected viewpoints and new perspectives – the plaza itself becomes a spectacle through its recreation. At sunset, as the city itself starts to glow with storefront signs, streetlamps, and headlights, the pavillion turns into a set of complementary illuminated lanterns, casting speckles and rays of light across the plaza from the hundreds of window frames and doorways.

Mini City Souvenir Plaza rescales our everyday surroundings, in effect, making the Flatiron neighborhood more comprehensible and charming, offering a lense to revisualize and reimagine the spaces that we experience everyday.

While we often conceive of architectural space in extremely binary terms (inside or outside, public or private, big or small), Mini City Souvenir Plaza presents a new way of thinking about these distinctions, offering instead, a smallness that feels impressively large, in a space that feels warm and familiar, yet open and accessible.

Mini City Souvenir Plaza, July, 2019, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership & Van Alen Institute
Mini City Souvenir Plaza, July, 2019, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership & Van Alen Institute
Mini City Souvenir Plaza, July, 2019, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership & Van Alen Institute
Mini City Souvenir Plaza, July, 2019, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership & Van Alen Institute
Mini City Souvenir Plaza, July, 2019, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership & Van Alen Institute
Mini City Souvenir Plaza, July, 2019, Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership & Van Alen Institute