In Progress: The New School University Center / SOM


Quickly rising on the corner of 14th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, this new, multipurpose facility will soon become the “heart” of The New School – an avant-garde university in City. The University Center, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), combines all aspects of a traditional campus into a single, 16-story building, offering 200,000 square feet of academic space on the first seven floors and 150,000 square feet for a 600-bed dormitory on the levels above.

The brass-and-glass structure, which is the largest construction project in the university’s 91-year history in Greenwich Village, is scheduled for completion in 2014.

In progress images and more information after the break.

© Paul Clemence

Interactive spaces dispersed throughout the building are vertically intertwined by three iconic fire stairs. These spaces, which are designed to foster moments of spontaneous encounters and unstructured conversations, are visually traced along the brass facade as “hives of activity”.

Stair Diagram © SOM

Between these interactive zones are long, loft-style spaces which house 50,000 square feet of flexible spaces for design studios, classrooms, and computing labs. They are designed to be easily renovated or reconfigured with no impact on power, data, or lighting.

Fourth Floor Lounge © SOM

The building also features an 800-seat auditorium, a central library with distributed resource spaces throughout, a large cafeteria, a 2,200 square foot faculty resource room in addition to 15 faculty offices, three student lounges, and a lobby/café space on two levels that provides space for music performances.

First Floor Cafe © SOM

The extensive academic program includes 19 fashion studios, 17 drawing studios, 12 classrooms, and 7 science labs. Virtually all schools and departments of the university are represented in this building. Program adjacencies are intentionally planned to promote collaboration in research rooms and chance encounters within generous circulation and social spaces.

Level 2 Floor Plan © SOM

The University Center is designed to LEED Gold standards and envisioned from the start to be a model for energy efficiency, carbon reduction, and sustainability. Through a rigorous process of evaluating viable, cost-effective, and maintainable energy savings techniques, the project is anticipated to achieve a 31.16% reduction in energy use from ASHRAE 90.1 (2007) requirements. The integrated design approach – which included senior level engineering and facilities personnel from The New School, The Durst Organization, and the A/E team – utilizes both passive techniques and active technologies to increase energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint.


Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Location: New York, New York
Owner: The New School
Developer: The Durst Organization
Project Team: Roger Duffy, FAIA (Design Partner), Mark Regulinski, AIA (Managing Director), Chris McCready, AIA (Project Manager), Jon Cicconi, AIA (Senior Design Architect), Colin Koop, AIA (Senior Design Architect), Angelo Arzano, AIA (Senior Technical Coordinator), Kimberly Garcia, AIA (Technical Coordinator)
Photography: SOM, Paul Clemence from

Residential Architect: SLCE Architects
Construction Manager: Tishman
MEP Engineer: Cosentini Associates
Structural Engineer: DeSimone Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Langan Environmental & Engineering Services
Lighting: Brandston Partnership
LEED Consultant: Buro Happold
NYSERDA Consultant: ADS Engineers
IT/aV/Security: Shen Milson Wilke

Vertical Transportation: Van Deusen Associates
Commissioning: Fulcrum
Blackwater System: Alliance Environmental
Energy Modeling: Buro Happold
Acoustics: Cerami Associates
Food Service: Cini Little
Facade Maintenance: Entek
Theater: Fisher Dachs Associates
Code Consulting & Expeditor: Milrose
Signage: Integral Reudi Baur Paris
Schedule & Cost Management: ProjectConsult

To learn more about large educational projects rising in New York, check out the preliminary renderings of Cornell Tech – a new world-class technology and entrepreneurship campus, masterplanned by SOM, that is planned for Roosevelt Island.

via SOM, The New School, The New York Times

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "In Progress: The New School University Center / SOM" 09 Jan 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • Michael

    I live in the neighborhood. I love contemporary architecture. I welcome new buildings. I love the Morphosis building for Cooper Unuion. That said, the New Schhol building is profoundly ugly. It looks like one of those decaying oil tankers. Or maybe an asylum for the criminally insane. Given how much they’ve spent, too bad they didn’t get a more visionary architect. I can’t speak to the interior, but that’s not what I see every day. As we like to say here…Meh!

  • jan adegeest

    why, if the building is almost finished , still show those horrible renderings? Really; no shadow, people don’t fit to the perspective rough materialization!! Makes you wonder how the building is going to look like inside…

  • Joseph N. Biondo

    Not exactly what I would expect from SOM. I miss the clarity and rigor of Bunshaft and Netsch.

  • John Bonano

    What a terrible idea. Lets keep the kids in one place ALL DAY! They won’t even have to go outside. Absurd!

    • Frank646

      Your comment is absurd. They’re students, not dogs. There’s a purpose for all buildings and this one is to house students so they can learn, not frolic and play on the street. And if you know NYC, you know that when people want to go outside, they will and they will be encouraged to regardless of the building that they are in. This one just happens to be right next to Union Square, so I’m pretty sure it’ll double as their campus. Can’t say that about most places in the world.

  • Walt

    Apparently this “…model for energy efficiency, carbon reduction…” extends to the student population as well.
    Do the windows open at least?

  • Rafael Bergés

    i hate that i have to attend school in this building when its done. this blows

  • bill yorgan

    Does anybody knows if the new school has any further plans of expanding eastbound towards 5th avenue on 14th street?