March 18, 2018

Remembering Gensler’s Toys ‘R’ Us Flagship in Times Square

Toys ‘R’ Us, New York, 2001. Photography by Paul Warchol.

As Toys ‘R’ Us announced plans to close all of its U.S. stores this week, we were reminded of a time when the company was at an all-time high. Interior Design published the former retail giant’s New York City flagship store after it opened in 2001. Designed by Gensler, the project led by John Bricker consisted of a dynamic facade fit for media-saturated Times Square.

The exterior featured 165 screens that changed images and degrees of transparency, allowing glimpses inside the store every 20 minutes. Built from two former Broadway theaters, the 110,000-square-foot outpost presented plenty of construction challenges. But lifting a 34-foot T-Rex into the space, which required leaving a side of the building open, was one of the biggest—and most fun.

Toys ‘R’ Us moved out of the store in 2015, and it has since been replaced by a Gap and Old Navy flagship.

Toys ‘R’ Us, New York, 2001. Photography by Paul Warchol.

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