A brave design crew from NYU gave a presentation before Community Board 2 Monday evening to unveil the new 385' Pinwheel Tower NYU hopes will rise over Bleecker Street on the landmarked Silver Towers superblock south of Washington Square Park. This is part of the University's all-consuming NYU 2031 scheme, and locals came out in force, some to question the plan and others to trash the tower. "Remember 1958!" was the rallying cry, in recognition of the victory won by Jane Jacobs and friends when they defeated Robert Moses' plan to ram Fifth Avenue through the middle of Washington Square. This latest neighborhood battle is filled with bureaucratic twists and turns: ULURP looms, and up-zoning from residential to commercial is part of the plan.
NYU's "preferred option" is 270,000-square-foot tower from Grimshaw Architects, "proposed at 38-stories, plus mechanicals" containing both faculty apartments and a university-affiliated hotel. Locals were told that this new design incorporates visual cues from I. M. Pei's landmarked trio of 30-story towers in exposed concrete, and that the addition of a fourth tower strengthens Pei's "Towers in the Park" concept. But, situated as it is above a demapped stretch of Wooster Street, a wiseguy might dub this new one the "Tower in the Driveway."
Big Purple can, as of right, build something shorter and squatter on the plot just to the west, replacing a one-story Morton Williams supermarket at the corner of Bleecker and LaGuardia. To prove how horrible that option would be, NYU has distributed an image of a hulking black mass, looking like it could suck up every bit of light and air north of Houston Street. Instead, by moving the tower a tad to the east, NYU and park experts Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates propose to open up that corner, creating a mega-playground complete with water feature and?OMG?a Slide Mountain! Let's just hope that's not one of those stainless steel kid killers that are suddenly all the rage. Check out NYU's plans and a few of our own artistic interpretations in the above gallery.
· Rumors of Additional NYU Towers Spread as 'Pinwheel' Revealed [Curbed]
· NYU 2031 coverage [Curbed]
· NYU 2031 [Official Site]