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The New School Shows Off its Big Brassy Dame

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Word was already out on the design of the New School's University Center on Fifth Avenue near Union Square, but we showed up anyway for the official public unveiling, and we're glad we did. Free brownies! Oh, and also a look at the 16-story building's snazzy architectural model.

The design from SOM's Roger Duffy was on full view, the model showing alternating bands of patinated brass clapboards and ribbon windows, all giving a bit of a nod to the original New School for Social Research building, designed by Joseph Urban in 1930. The team from SOM was on hand for the show and tell, swinging open sections of the model to reveal the inner workings of the 354,000-square-foot scheme.

Big ribbons of concave glass-enclosed staircases traverse the facade of the six-story base, most prominently on the southwest corner above 13th Street. There the academic entrance is framed by a flow of stairs where students will be on view from the street below. A glass enclosed two-story library spans the top floor of the base and continues up to the first floor of the 10-story dormitory tower above. The building is going for LEED Gold certification, and will have a green roof atop the base, offering verdant views for book worms. There's more green up top, crowning the dorm block where some 600 students will be housed in suites of four, each with two cozy bedrooms and a shared bath.

The exterior brass cladding has been angled to thwart perching pigeons, repel rain and bounce light into the building. Inside is an 800-seat auditorium with entrances at street level, fully equipped with movable walls and adjustable seating platforms. The space can be reconfigured into a smaller lecture hall with isolated classrooms up top, or opened wide for performances and fashion shows. The demolition of the old building where all this will rise should be done by the end of summer and the new New School will be ready for studies by fall 2013.
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65 Fifth Avenue

65 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011

University Center

65 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY