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Thread: New York University Expansion

  1. #61
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    NYU Takes a Village with Campus Plan

    Adding millions of square feet to two Moses superblocks south of Washington Square enrages locals

    Matt Chaban


    NYU has proposed a fourth tower (center) for I.M. Pei' Silver Tower complex on Houston.
    Designed by Grimshaw, it needs Landmarks approval. Courtesy NYU


    A stroll along Washington Square South provides a good primer on NYU’s approach to development in recent decades. On one side is the park, former stomping grounds of O’Neill, Dylan, and Jacobs. On the other, a stretch of stone-faced institutional buildings, their imposing facades beckoning exclusively to students and faculty with a severity alien to the lively mood that otherwise energizes Greenwich Village. In the bad old days, these buildings were constructed in an as-of-right, piecemeal fashion with little community input.


    The new tower mimicks its neighbors, though its proportions and height
    (38 versus 30 stories) vary. (Click to zoom)



    Sequestered open space at Washington Square Village will be repalced with
    two towers and a two-story academic building below grade with a sunken garden.


    Now the school is attempting a different approach, creating a masterplan that maps out the creation of roughly six million square feet in the city over the next two decades, an effort university officials said has been rooted in thorough planning and outreach. Yet despite the change in tactics, many in the community remain wary as ever, saying the university continues to ignore local input.

    NYU is in fact looking as far away as downtown Brooklyn and Governors Island for opportunities, yet the heart of its plan—and of the university—remains in the blocks surrounding Washington Square Park, known as the Core. The university wants to put nearly half its new development in the area, much of it focused on the two Robert Moses superblocks north of Houston Street: Washington Square Village and the landmarked Silver Towers. By concentrating development in these already dense areas owned by the university, officials say, NYU can avoid buying up more of the Village.

    The university and its designers—Grimshaw, Toshiko Mori, and Michael Van Valkenburgh—are proposing four thoughtful, albeit large, buildings that strive to minimize their impact on the neighborhood by peeling back the problematic parts of the superblocks, including serpentine fencing and landscapes, dreary street frontage, and a hodgepodge of circulation paths in order to create a more inviting environment.

    Mori said the idea is to work within the logic of the disparate superblocks, where a plan for three slab buildings was abandoned by the original developer in the face of economic challenges in the late 1950s. Two of these Paul Lester Weiner–designed slabs were built, becoming University Village, which NYU then acquired along with the site of Silver Towers, which were built the following decade. “This is not a tabula rasa,” Mori said. “We’re not replacing the buildings but rationalizing, enhancing, and making them better.”

    The first piece of the plan to enter public review will be a tower designed by Grimshaw for the Silver Towers site. Rising to 38 stories (eight more than its neighbors), the new tower will pay tribute to I.M. Pei’s distinctive facades with its own inventive glass treatment. The tower consists of four L-shaped volumes, with two elevated to create transparency and entrances, one for residents, the other for a controversial hotel.


    A playground will replace a Morton Williams grocery store, a move NYU argues creates more and better open space on the Silver Towers site.


    Otherwise an ungainly as-of-right building would be built on the grocery.

    Because the Landmarks Preservation Commission landmarked not only Pei’s three towers but the grounds surrounding them, NYU must seek its approval to build the new tower in line with Wooster Street, which the designers argue creates the best sight lines within the complex. The grocery store at the corner of LaGuardia Place and Bleecker Street would be replaced with an underground garage and a playground on top; the designers could have built here as of right, but prefer not to.

    To the east of the towers is the squat Coles athletic center, which would be demolished to make way for the 17-story, Mori-designed Zipper Building, so called for the light wells creating bays in the structure’s upper half. The Zipper would accommodate both a new grocery store and academic space.


    The designers say they want to crete a Bryant Park feel within the new Washington Square Village open space.
    One of the new towers, which reflect light down into the subteranean building, is at center.



    Currently the space between the Washington Square Village slabs is a tangle
    of fences and confusing circulation.


    The most complicated piece of the plan is at Washington Square Village. The designers are proposing to replace a park and underground parking lot between the extant slab buildings with a two-level, 500,000-square-foot academic building below grade. In the center, a sunken garden would provide natural light into the space inspired, according to the architects, by Dominique Perrault’s Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

    Bookending the site would be two more academic towers, one of which may also include an elementary school, a nod to the community. Rising up to 8 stories on LaGuardia Place and up to 17 on Mercer Street, the buildings are crescent-shaped in a yin-and-yang layout meant to reflect light into the heart of the new quad. NYU intends to take the entire project before the City Planning Commission next year, after Landmarks determines what, if anything, can be built on the Silver Towers site.


    A model showing the new buildings at Washington Square Village (left),
    Grimshaw's Tower (center right), and Mori's Zipper Building (top right).
    courtesy GVSHP


    In spite of NYU’s efforts, the community is not happy with the ambitious plan. In part, their anger is based on a 2007 promise NYU made not to pursue non-essential development within the Core. NYU counters that it has reduced the amount of its development and concentrated it within a tight footprint. “For them to turn around and stab us in the back so quickly is unconscionable,” one local resident said. “Some of us tried to maintain as much goodwill as possible, but I don’t see how that is possible anymore.”

    There is also rage about the proposed hotel and NYU’s apparent disinterest in considering Lower Manhattan because of its distance from the Core. That NYU presented it as a single ULURP rather than phased per project has attracted particular vitriol.

    Just as when Moses created these superblocks a half-century ago, the designs on paper meet far different conditions on the ground. The university needs to expand; the community doesn’t want 2.6 million square feet of new development. The density, if not the design, is as of right. This being New York, it just might happen. This being the Village, it just might not.

    http://archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=4675

  2. #62

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    These early renderings look pretty good. I'd say approve it and make sure they build what's rendered now. GVSHP needs to learn to say something other than "no".

  3. #63

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    Does NYU own these hideous pieces of crap? If so, I'd like to see them demolished and rebuilt within the parameters of a new campus plan. These eyesores ruin the Village's landscape.


  4. #64

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    Not privately owned buildings, no.

    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy View Post
    So you don't believe in buildings being protected as landmarks?

  5. #65
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    That criteria ^ would take the vast majority of protected buildings in NYC off the preservation list.

    Remember, Penn Station was owned by a railroad corporation; it was not a publicly-owned building.

  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer View Post
    Does NYU own these hideous pieces of crap? If so, I'd like to see them demolished and rebuilt within the parameters of a new campus plan. These eyesores ruin the Village's landscape.

    It's like they took a page (a big, Brezhnev-era, decaying page) from the dingiest parts of Moscow (or Warsaw, or Sofia, or Samara -- it's all the same, really) and "gifted" it to the Village. It looks 100% like any of the housing projects of those cities, right down to the ring of one-story retail that meets the street in front of it.

    Washington Sq. Village really needs an imploding.

  7. #67
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    NYU Expansion Watchdogs Told to Quit the Hunt

    July 8, 2010, by Joey

    For years, officials at NYU have been meeting with a group of politicians, preservationists and concerned neighbors called the Community Task Force on NYU Development. Doesn't seem like the two sides would get along! But over dozens of confabs, NYU patiently nodded its head while the group expressed concerns about the school's massive expansion effort. The feedback eventually took the form of a list of recommendations for the NYU 2031 plan, a list that NYU promptly picked up, examined closely, and applied to its backside with several rapid up-and-down strokes. Now, with various parts of NYU's Greenwich Village onslaught coming up for public review, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has suspended the task force indefinitely.

    The group may seem obsolete now that the community boards will get their chances to rip into NYU's plans, but The Villager wants to see the panel preserved, as do a number of vocal locals, including members of the disbanded task force. They've fired off a letter (warning: PDF) to a bunch of politicians stating their case. For example: "We believe we should all be standing firm in pushing the university to consider and adopt these recommendations, rather than suspending the Task Force when there is so much work left for it to do." Translation: We miss the fresh fruit platters NYU put out at our meetings.

    Editorial: Keep N.Y.U. task force [The Villager]
    Villagers Present NYU With New List of Commandments to Break [Curbed]
    All NYU Expansion coverage [Curbed]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/0..._hunt.php#more

  8. #68
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    On Waverly Place, between Mercer and Greene, NYU is nearing completion of a complete refurbishment (plus additon up top) at 12-16 Waverly Place (the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology). This block front on the south side of Waverly is fantastic ...

    How 12-16 Waverly looked right after the work began:





    And how it looks today:















    *

  9. #69
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    More at 12-16 Waverly Place -- amazingly none of these buildings on this block front are Landmarked (or maybe not so surprising, given that NYU owns them -- but credit where credit is due: NYU has taken good loving care of the whole set) ...















    They've just started to power wash this big one on the corner ...




  10. #70
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    And over at 58 Washington Square South, NYU's new Center for Academic and Spiritual Life has started to rise above the street ...











    *

  11. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stroika View Post
    It's like they took a page (a big, Brezhnev-era, decaying page) from the dingiest parts of Moscow (or Warsaw, or Sofia, or Samara -- it's all the same, really) and "gifted" it to the Village. It looks 100% like any of the housing projects of those cities, right down to the ring of one-story retail that meets the street in front of it.

    Washington Sq. Village really needs an imploding.
    I completely agree.

    Is this public (or rent-regulated) housing or does NYU own this sh.it?

  12. #72
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Great photos, Lofter . Those old buildings are gorgeous, and it's very heartening to see them so well looked after.

  13. #73
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Thanks, Merry. The blocks between West 4th <> Washington Square <> Waverly <> Broadway are filled with terrific old buildings. The NYU idea to turn Washington Place (the middle east <> west street) into a pedestrian area should be given consideration and would do wonders to turn something of a dead zone into a much more appealing area.

    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer View Post

    Is this public (or rent-regulated) housing or does NYU own this sh.it?
    NYU owned since 1964 (after construction); the original plan from 1957 called for a 3rd building:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	WSV_1957_01a.jpg 
Views:	157 
Size:	128.9 KB 
ID:	10053

    WSV includes some rent stabilized units.

    According to a 2008 article from the NY Observer, these are the numbers (seems it includes Silver Towers units as well, if not more):

    Most of the 11,000 units in Washington Square Village are occupied by N.Y.U. administrators, graduate students and faculty, apart from the 4,000 that are still rent-stabilized ...

    That total number of 11,000 seems very high, as 1 WSV has 1,904 units (there are four buildings at WSV, numbered 1 - 4 WSV)

    Wikipedia says this:

    Washington Square Village was proposed in July 1957 as part of a six-building, 2,004 unit complex ...

    Whatever the exact number, the cost of relocating protected tenants is one of the main reasons that WSV won't be imploded anytime soon (NYU needs another generation to die first ).

    More images of the original WSV Plan (from Wikipedia) ...





    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi.../WSV-plan1.gif



    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi.../WSV-plan2.gif
    Last edited by lofter1; July 21st, 2010 at 08:59 AM. Reason: Added some info & images -- if the pics are deemed too big then feel free to do as needed.

  14. #74

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    Thanks, Lofter.

  15. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    More at 12-16 Waverly Place -- amazingly none of these buildings on this block front are Landmarked (or maybe not so surprising, given that NYU owns them -- but credit where credit is due: NYU has taken good loving care of the whole set) ...
    Lucky for that.

    however, if the buildings were landmarked, this addition never would have passed. The setback is OK, but it looks like an equipment bulkhead.


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