Davis Brody Bond | KieranTimberlake - Transparency, lightness, green roofs: John A. Paulson Center
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Transparency, lightness, green roofs: John A. Paulson Center

Davis Brody Bond | KieranTimberlake

Education  /  Completed
Davis Brody Bond | KieranTimberlake

Given the urban context of New York University’s campus, academic programs function with far less space than peer institutions. Planning studies demonstrated an urgent need for increased space to strengthen the university’s academic culture. In addition to more classrooms, the university needed specialized spaces for its renowned performing arts programs, student and faculty housing, and athletic facilities. The design accommodates NYU’s full program while reducing overall building mass, resulting in greater access to sky and natural light for pedestrians and neighbors. Additional design refinements include the articulation of residential towers with offset volumes, visually reducing the building’s volume while increasing natural light for interior spaces.

The Paulson Center’s design takes advantage of its 360-degree relationship with the neighborhood by placing primary circulation along its transparent perimeter and instructional spaces towards the center. This reversal of conventional building organization provides faculty and students with one-of-a-kind city views while giving outside observers a sense of the building’s activity. This distinct layout creates a sense of openness and connection by encouraging both social and intellectual exchanges that are at the center of the NYU experience. Outside, the design continues to develop connections by creating a new pedestrian “greenway” that links two major thoroughfares along the building’s west side.

Designed in support of NYU’s Climate Action Plan and plans for carbon neutrality by 2040, the building incorporates sustainable design features to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and the amount of waste generated during construction and everyday use. The building is connected to NYU’s Co-Gen plant that simultaneously produces electricity, heat, and chilled water. In contrast to conventional energy sources, the Co-Gen plant substantially reduces the number of resources used, as well as greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants. Based on the projected energy model, the Paulson Center will exceed the 2016 NYC Energy Conservation Code by more than 40% by utilizing waste heat from the plant, a significant project innovation for a large, mixed-use building.

The John A. Paulson Center is a 68,000 square meter mixed-use academic building that sets a new paradigm for multi-use university facilities. The new building embodies the vibrancy and character of New York University, while offering new ways to engage, learn, work, play, and live. Designed to optimize interactions between diverse student groups and academic disciplines, the building includes classrooms; performing arts theaters, teaching, rehearsal, and practice rooms; athletic facilities for varsity sports and recreation; and housing for students and faculty. Each of these spaces is organized into unique “neighborhoods” connected by an expansive Commons that provides collaborative gathering spaces. The building envelope was designed to optimize natural light and view while limiting solar gain and glare, reducing bird strikes, and serving the building’s environmental objectives.

Angled curtain wall panels punctuate the exterior of the building, shifting light and shadow, creating a distinct and textured façade. The orientation of these wedges has been tailored to the building’s unique solar exposure, allowing for self-shading of direct low sun angles, while maintaining an abundance of natural light. The wedges frame distinctive city views and create window benches in the student housing towers.

Emphasizing transparency, lightness, green roofs, and common spaces, the Paulson Center’s design gracefully accommodates its many uses. Though slimmer and 20% smaller than allowed by City approvals process, the building meets NYU’s pressing academic needs, fosters connection between people, makes NYU’s vibrancy and diversity visible for observers, reinforces NYU’s connection to the city, and is mindful of our neighbors and neighborhood. A building of which NYU can be proud.


 New York City
 New York, USA
 New York University
 Mixed-use academic building with classrooms, performing arts theaters, rehearsal and practice rooms, varsity sports arenas, a recreational sports gymnasium, café, and housing for faculty and students.
 68000 mq
  1,200,000,000.00 $
 Davis Brody Bond, KieranTimberlake
 William H. Paxson, Carl F. Krebs, James Timberlake, Richard Maimon, Matthew Krissel, Anthony Sieverding, Jon McCandlish, Mayine Yu, Daisy Houang, Fernando Hausch-Fen, Fátima Olivieri-Martínez, Cooper G. Schilling, Zinat Yusufzai, Nnadozie Okeke
 Turner Construction Company
 Civil/Geotechnical: Langan Engineering and Environmental Services; M/E/P: Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers, P.C.; Structural: Severud Associates; Acoustics/AV/IT/Security: Cerami & Associates; Athletics: Sasaki; Aquatics: Counsilman-Hunsaker; Code/ Life Safety: Code Consultants Inc.; Cost: Dharam Consulting; Elevators: Van Deusen & Associates; Envelope: Heintges Consulting Architects Engineers, P.C.; Expediting: Design 2147; Facade Maintenance: Lerch Bates; FF&E: Spacesmith; Food Services: Davella Studios; Graphics/ Wayfinding: Pentagram; Landscape: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates; Lighting: Tillotson Design Associates; Materials Handling: Kleinfelder; Performance Acoustics/AV: Jaffe Holden; Roofing/Waterproofing: Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.; Sustainability: Atelier Ten; Theater: Fisher Dachs Associates
 Connie Zhou / JBSA


Since its founding in 1952, Davis Brody Bond has been among the nation’s leading architectural design practices. With offices in New York City and Washington, DC, Davis Brody Bond is led by five partners who work closely with a staff of architects, planners, and designers. The firm is drawn to projects that explore the challenges of urban sites and context, and much of this work has been in partnership with institutions located in dense urban settings. // Founded in 1984, KieranTimberlake brings together the experience and talents of over 100 professionals of diverse backgrounds and abilities in a practice that is recognized worldwide. Projects include the programming, planning, and design of new structures as well as the conservation, renovation, and transformation of existing buildings, with special expertise in education, government, arts and culture, civic, and residential projects.


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