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Plan for Washington Square Village Calls for an NYU Mountain

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NYU dropped its plan for a new 40-story building to "complete" the Silver Towers complex, but the NYU 2031 expansion blueprint is filled with other big ideas, including at Washington Square Village, the superblock just north of Silver Towers and just south of Washington Square Park. There, on the green space that links the two parallel strips of high-rises (home to many grad students and faculty members), NYU has proposed building two new above-ground academic buildings, both connected to a large underground facility topped with fresh green space. God, could this introduction be any more boring when compared to the crazy visuals above? Just stop reading and click through that gallery. We'll wait. OK, now continue.

The school has released early concepts of what it intends to do at Washington Square Village, but landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (of Brooklyn Bridge Park fame) has taken things a step further. The firm's New York University Master Plan rundown has epic renderings of the new buildings and grounds, which include surface public areas and a sloped "Light Garden" (as the NYU 2031 plan puts it) to allow light into the underground facilities. This NYU Mountain would be accessed through the new buildings. Here's how the design team describes the project:

A new center for the university on the Washington Square Village superblock will maximize the use of below-grade space for academics and serve as a new student hub. Existing and proposed above-grade buildings will be focused on faculty residences and academic departmental space, respectively; both will include retail or community spaces at grade to encourage a high level of urban traffic. The new landscape, which is at grade with the city sidewalks, is a pedestrian thoroughfare and a “common ground” for interaction among students, faculty, and the public. It will include plant communities with multiseasonal appeal, contributing to the creation of intimately scaled spaces that support a variety of social activities. When the time comes for NYU to formally present these ideas, how will the locals react to the "plant communities with multiseasonal appeal?" Hopefully better than they took to the playgrounds for toddlers and puppies.
· New York University Master Plan [Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates]
· NYU 2031: Washington Square Village [NYU]
· All NYU Expansion coverage [Curbed]