Archtober Building of the Day #3
The New School University Center
65 5th Avenue, New York, NY
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the five-story academic building topped with student housing on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street aggressively embraces its urban setting wearing a vivid zig zag expression of vertical circulation on its sleeve. The AIA New York Chapter held the most recent FitCity conference in its 800-seat auditorium last May. The site was selected for this annual event that brings public health and design professionals together, partly because stairs are the defining element of the structure.
The principles of the NYC Active Design Guidelines, which encourage more physical activity in everyday life, are evident throughout the building, designed by SOM’s Roger Duffy for a client team led by the New School’s Vice President for Design, Construction & Facilities Lia Gartner. On today’s Archtober tour, Duffy and Gartner said that the social spaces created at the intersection of perimeter stairs and activity space defined a sense of connection for the multi-disciplinary institution, founded in 1919 as The New School for Social Research. These connecting spaces bring social theorists together with those involved in more practical design. Philosophers rub elbows with Parsons’ architecture students and flamboyant fashion designers.
“The New School believes in interaction and connection, and the building’s stairs create needed social spaces,”Gartner said on the tour. Duffy added, “This building is taking the public realm, the sidewalk, and wrapping it up onto the facade, connecting the activity of the sidewalks to the face of the buildings—you see a hive of activity from the street.”
Take the ferry to Staten Island for tomorrow’s Building of the Day tour of the Stapleton Library by Andrew Berman, FAIA.