As reported by David W Dunlap for the NYTimes, the safety-restoration applied to Philip Johnson and Richard Foster’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library on the NYU campus near Washington Square is close to completion. While the library, which was constructed in the early 1970s, remains intact, the tremendous atrium space – a soaring 150 ft void – is proving to be more of a safety hazard than the magnificent architectural experience the architects intended. Since 2003, the library has been marred by claiming the lives of three students who leaped to their deaths (even after the university installed 8ft polycarbonate barriers). Charged with the task of eliminating the possibility for such a future occurrence, Joel Sanders Architect responded with a perforated alumium screen that completely walls off the atrium from the library’s levels.
More after the break.
The contenders: NYU and the Greenwich Village community. Let Round 2 commence.
Almost two years after we first brought you news about NYU 2031, NYU’s plans for expansion in Brooklyn, Governor’s Island, and (most controversially) in Greenwich Village, and the fight has not only continued, but escalated. A debate, hosted by The Municipal Art Society of New York, two nights ago brought about 200 NYU affiliates and community residents together, but only spatially; there was a considerable lack of willingness to compromise from either camp.
NYU’s plan, thought up by Toshiko Mori Architect, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, and Grimshaw Architects, has ruffled feathers mostly for the fact of its bulk. The 2.5 million square-foot development (1.1 million of which would be underground) is the largest ever proposed for the Village, and has drawn criticism for its potential to diminish light, greenery, and open space in the neighborhood.
Last May, we shared NYU’s expansion plan, NYU 2031: NYU in NYC – a 20 year developmental framework to help the campus provide adequate facilities for its growing student body. Yet, as we reported, the conceptual plan was met with much resistance as residents of the Village claim that the plans will diminish the character of the area. Only time will tell whether NYU will successfully expand into the Village, however, in the meantime, as The Journal reported, NYU is putting more attention on its expansion to Brooklyn and Manhattan’s East Side. The university has just leased 120,000 sqf in Brooklyn (a move that has increased the existing Polytechnic Institute of NYU by 20%); plus, NYU has chosen Kohn Pederson Fox to design a 170,000-square-foot campus between 24th Street and 34th Street which will be home to a new bio-engineering program and provide more space for the dental school, as well as the relocation of the nursing school from Washington Square. NYU’s vision for a presence on Governors Island is still in the works as the university is looking to develop one million square feet for academic and residential use. We will keep you updated as we hear more about the plan.
This years architectural events in New York are bound to have a meaningful effect on the years to come; the decision by NYU to add another tower complementing I.M Pei’s existing Silver Towers complex (rather than their initial plan to demolish them), the opening of the first section of Brooklyn Bridge Park coupled with the completion of the High Line has re-established New York City as a key model to reference when it comes to designing urban public space, and finally construction began on Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, by Louis Kahn, to name a few.
From transportation, urban planning, exhibitions, residential and office buildings follow the break to see the New Yorkers list of some of the most influential decisions surrounding architecture over the past year in New York.
NYU prides itself on providing its students with a real feel for city life by having them traverse to different parts of the campus, which is sprawled across Greenwich Village. And yet, the campus will become even more scattered as a 20 year development plan sees NYU as owning parts of Downtown Brooklyn, SoHo and even a satellite campus on Goverrnors Island. The plan, termed “NYU 2031: NYU in NYC “, will add over 6 million square feet of classrooms, labs, and dorms, increasing the building space by approximately 40%.
More images and more about the expansion after the break.