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University Center / SOM

Located in Greenwich Village, The New School is an artistic academic institution where thousands of students continue their education in varying facets of design, whether it be music, drama, jazz, liberal arts etc. Within the past few days, the school has unveiled their newest proposal for a University Center designed by New York based SOM. Adding over 365,00 sqf for academic and public programs, a new library and a 600+ student dormitory, the project will create a major campus hub at 65th Fifth Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets when it opens for the Fall 2013 semester. More about the addition after the break.

President Bob Kerrey explained, “This institution is in the midst of a transformation, amplifying its urban campus to serve degree-seeking students…  Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of our curricula, the University Center provides space for students across all of The New School and its programs to interact and collaborate.”

The new University Center will be a way for the large school to tie its student body together and form a mutual common space among the differing segments of the college.  The building has been carefully designed to complement its eclectic surroundings, affording the university a signature architectural presence that respects the massing and scale of neighboring buildings. Although 16 storeys high, the materiality of the facade breaks the scale of the massing down and the greenery adds a new element to the crowded grid.  Since the building is facing the street life of the village, the main circulation is pulled to the exterior face allowing the movement through the building to be seen from the street.  This creates a nice juxtaposition of city goers’ circulation coupled next to the students’ movements within the center.

SOM’s Roger Duffy, who designed the building, focused on fostering a seamless interaction of the building’s circulation and learning spaces, mindful of the ways students, faculty and the community intersect.  “In every way, this new building will become the new heart of The New School,” said Roger Duffy. “Its location, innovative design, and bold programming will encouraging the face-to-face, spirited inquiry that is a characteristic of this university.”

The new 16-story building will replace a structure designed as a department store in 1951, which the university outgrew years ago. Two floors below grade will house several lecture halls, a cafe and extension of street-level retail space. An at-grade auditorium will feature movable walls to accommodate different seating arrangements and a retractable runway for student exhibitions.

Since sustainability serves as a core value of both The New School and SOM, the building includes several eco-friendly techniques (such as state-of-the-art energy, water, and waste efficiencies and maximized daylight harvesting through clerestory windows and light shelves in classrooms) which should make the project earn, at the minimum, a LEED Gold certification.

All imagery courtesy of SOM.

Cite:Karen Cilento. "University Center / SOM" 11 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/59540/university-center-som/>