Today the New School will present its plan for a new 16-story mixed-use building at 65 Fifth Avenue to the public, but the Times got a sneak preview following yesterday's approval of the long-awaited project by the school's board. The New School's current eyesore between 13th and 14th Streets is already being demolished to make way for the 365,000-square-foot freshman, which is being built as-of-right following years of debate over its size and impact on the neighborhood. We have a gut feeling the design won't put an end to the controversy.
The layout of the retail/academic/dorm building?designed by SOM's Roger Duffy (of Toren fame)?has long been known, but that glassy rendering of yore was never said to be the final design. As it turns out, the real thing will have a skin of horizontal brass bands (sorry, not bronze as originally stated in the NYT piece), artificially aged for a dark golden-brown hue. The concept of the glass-walled staircases?so people on the street can check out the student bodies in motion?made it to the final design.
NYT architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff likes what he sees so far ("What enlivens the design, however, is not its bling, but its emphasis on the spectacle of social interaction"), and the Big O cements his reputation as the Stairmaster by dedicating three paragraphs to the fine art of urban climbing. Here's a rendering of that wacky "stair system," and please note that construction kicks off this August:
UPDATE: The New School's website has some more renderings of the University Center, including the (seen below) second-floor cafeteria window, student residences entrance (SLCE Architects designed the dorm interiors) and the terrace off the 7th floor library.