New York University’s new $1 billion academic building will have an all-glass facade that lets neighbors peer into students’ lives.
The university revealed its plans for the contentious 735,000-square-foot building at 181 Mercer Street Thursday. Local residents, students and preservationists had opposed the project for years, but a court decision last year gave it the green light.
The building, set to open in 2021, will include a gym, a swimming pool, three theaters and class rooms. It will be topped by two towers with faculty and student housing. Kieran Timberlake and David Brody Bond are designing the project, the Wall Street Journal reported. Hallways and staircases will be on the outside of the building behind a glass facade.
The school’s opponents were rattled by the announcement. “The notion that covering a 300-foot-long building in glass is going to make it less intrusive is ridiculous and sounds like the proverbial lipstick on a pig,” Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation told the Journal.
Neighborhood activists had opposed the project on the argument that it utilizes land that should be a public park.
The new building sits on a so-called super block, created during Robert Moses’ ultimately unsuccessful push to build an expressway through lower Manhattan. NYU acquired the site in the 1960s.