NYUs Stern School of Business, located on a dense urban site on the edge of the Greenwich Village Historic District, retained our firm to renovate and connect all of its undergraduate instructional space located in the two basement levels of its three buildings.
Conceptually, the resulting design emphasizes connectedness and transparency by reconfiguring and reinventing the image the school presents to the City and broader business community. The project reclaims unpleasant and underutilized even unutilized underground spaces through a combination of innovative design and careful engineering.
The new concourse transforms the existing outdated rabbit warren of vintage 1950s classrooms into a state-of-the-art instructional center. The new classrooms are linked to one another by inviting light-filled corridors, which are in turn punctuated by casual lounge and gathering spaces. These touch-down areas have proven vital to promoting the interaction between students and faculty that make for a vibrant, active academic community. Previously, students sat on the floor in the hallways to have group meetings before or after class. The school has transitioned from a place that students enter for instruction and quickly leave, to a destination a place in which they want to meet and linger.
The heart of the project is a central three-story atrium with an advanced glass stair that carries light and energy from the plaza level to the concourses below. Skylights cut into the grade-level plaza brings natural light deep within the spaces; intricately intertwined building services were sorted out and re-routed to allow ceiling heights to be raised; ample use of fire-rated glass provides views into classrooms; and interconnecting stairs foster a sense of connectivity between floors. The result is the transformation of some of the least desirable spaces in the NYU inventory into some of the most exciting and memorable. The project is anticipating LEED CI-Silver certification.