NBC Today Show

“The Today Show” started in a small storefront down the street in 1952. In 1994 it returned with a new studio and wrap around view of Rockefeller Plaza, interactive television kiosks and standing room only sidewalk space in front of cameras. As part of the larger $15 million dollar project KOHN ARCHITECTURE was asked to design the storefront exterior and the interactive kiosks. The first broadcast featured President Bill Clinton and shortly after “Today” climbed to No. 1 where it has remained in the morning rating contest. The studio continues to operate as it was designed 10 years ago. Unlike gentler times the windows in the new studio are bulletproof and angled to prevent unwanted reflections. In the windows and above the view into the studio a band of TV screens and a ticker displays NBC shows and breaking new stories. Owing to the landmarked status of Rockefeller Plaza, all of the designs had to undergo a rigorous approval process through the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Community Board and The Rockefeller Center Group.
The interactive television kiosks were designed to let ordinary people communicate with people on the air. The concept of these kiosks was unique in that there was no existing model or precedent for anything like this before. Starting from scratch, working with media technology experts Kohn invented every aspect of these kiosks. The landmark status of the site prevented anything permanent from being placed on the Plaza. Therefore the kiosks were designed to disappear during the regular workday. Installed before the show and then removed right after show, new systems for transportation, installation, communication, electronics, folding, supporting, locking and lighting had to be created. All within a tight schedule and with extremely stringent requirements. The design and systems built for “Today” have withstood the test of time without major re-designs and continue to be used successfully on one of the most popular shows on morning television.

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