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Saturday26 July 2014

Grimshaw unveils Manhattan project

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Grimshaw Architects has revealed designs for two Manhattan city “superblocks” as part of New York University’s city-wide development programme.

The NYU 2031 project will provide a framework for the university’s development activity in the next 20 years.

Grimshaw, which was appointed to the job in spring 2007, is working with landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, the designer behind the new grounds of the St Louis Arch in Missouri.

Also on the team are associate designer Toshiko Mori and Arup working on systems and structural feasibility.

The university’s core development area comprises seven blocks around Washington Square Park. The latest designs relate to two areas to the south of the park that will be redeveloped with up to 230,000sq m of residential, commercial and retail property and 1.2ha of public space.

Nikolas Dando-Haenisch, associate principal at Grimshaw, said: “Existing modernist superblocks provide the opportunity to develop a new urban design response to the now historic ‘tower-in-the-park’ typology. We have sought to strike a balance between the development goals and the need for a range of differentiated and legible public spaces.”

Washington Square Village is the northernmost of the two blocks and is lined with residential buildings. Two new academic boomerang-shaped buildings are proposed at the east and west ends of the block.

The University Village south block currently contains three residential towers and a sports centre. A building is planned to replace the sports centre, containing academic and athletic facilities, a supermarket and a university-affiliated hotel. A fourth residential tower is also planned, but has been redesigned after a 40-storey tower by IM Pei was criticised by locals when it was published last year.

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Readers' comments (6)

  • Manhattan Project? Is this going to be nuclear-powered?

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  • flow

    Looks nice. Rooftop gardens - great idea. Why don't more tall buildings have these?
    Interesting how IM Pei was criticised for a 40-storey tower. Out of any neighbourhood in the world, surely you'd expect the Manhattan locals to be OK with tall buildings.

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  • Actually, the tower was not designed by IM Pei at all. It was meant to complement the other three towers he designed on the site. IM Pei joined the locals in opposition to the proposed fourth tower: http://wsvtenantsassociation.org/node/73

    This entire project would, in effect, drop a university quad into the center of a residential development, and it depends on a significant transfer of public land to the private holdings of New York University. Unfortunately, NYU has been unwilling to consider much more favorable development sites in lower Manhattan where the community is literally begging them to invest.

    The drawings look nice, but this won't be built.

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  • goosewing

    This looks perfectly generic, is this masterplan or proposals?

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  • I agree with Andrew S. This is not a place for building anything , a tower or even a pavilion. Take the original premise or the typical modernist tower, a vertical city freeing the ground. Well in this example the tower is the existing one (by IM Pei) and the ground is about to be built on. That's like the post modern colloquial expression- taking a s... where you eat.
    Ok these people (NYU professors who live there) don't eat there, but they come out of their buildings to a courtyard, an expected & necessary scenario with a tower what with the reason for a true modernists' reason for a tower existing- freeing up the ground etc..

    This is by no means a rant against Grimshaw, we all have to earn a living and the firm has done quite a good job fitting the clients requirements onto the site/ courtyard to an existing building.

    On another note, the comment about Manhattan & tall buildings. Let's not forgot that this is the very area that Jane Jacobs lived in and was motivated to put pen to paper to stop Robert Moses from doing his thing, probably building a tower in an existing tower's courtyard.

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  • HouseOfCopper

    I don't like it. Why is it that if people place grass on top of a building it's seen as a green development?

    I would have been more fond of the development if I saw some use of imagination for example linking the green roof spaces together.

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