Text description provided by the architects. The Center for Academic and Spiritual Life at New York University brings together students and scholars from a wide variety of religious backgrounds into one multi-faith and multi-function building on the NYU campus. This ambitious project, recently completed in January, 2012, provides multi-denominational sacred spaces to be shared by a multiplicity of faiths within a single facility.
Because the building is intended to provide a home for the dozens of underserved religious organizations on the NYU campus no one particular religion’s iconography should be visually dominant. Coincidentally, at just 50 feet wide the north façade is tasked with the responsibility of projecting the spiritual and architectural expression of this building without being an overbearing intrusion in the village or on Washington Square Park. The facade of this building was thus tasked with resolving the urban concerns, architectural expression and programmatic identity. An organic pattern of perforated laminated stone panels are layered on top of windows resolved to program arrangements. These stone panels are just over 5/8” thick, 30” wide and 40” tall, and are held by four small pegs integrated into the pre-fabricated curtain wall. Alignments and mis-alignments between logical orders of skin and core are activated by users inhabiting the building throughout the day.
The inclusive and inviting building serves the entire campus community with classrooms, meeting rooms, offices, and music practice facilities. The unique Global Conference Center is designed to bring together students and faculty from NYU’s campuses around the world and incorporates state of the art multimedia systems to provide the infrastructure for this dialog.
The project is located in a highly visible location on the south side of Washington Square Park in New York City. When approaching from the north, the site is directly on axis with 5th Avenue and is framed by the view through the Washington Memorial Arch. The project represents New York University’s design excellence initiative and achieved a LEED Gold rating.