By Brian J. Pape, AIA

New York University’s (NYU) scope of development for their enlarged Greenwich Village campus includes razing the Jerome S. Coles Sports Center at 20–40 East Houston Street and constructing a massive 750,000-square-foot complex bordered by Houston Street, Mercer Street and Bleecker Street, located directly to the east of I. M. Pei’s University Village complex, called Silver Towers, with its courtyard concrete Pablo Picasso centerpiece.

The total project is designed by the architecture firms Davis Brody Bond and KieranTimberlake. Renderings and permit filings describe two towers above a five-story podium base structure comprised of new sports center and performing arts facilities and a landscaped public plaza. Steel superstructure members can now be seen rising above the surrounding construction fencing. The 588,000-square-foot towers will house students and faculty, dining space and some offices. A landscaped terrace for students and faculty members will sit atop the five-story podium base, adding communal greenery. A 23-story tower will rise at the corner of Houston Street and Mercer Street and the shorter tower is situated along Mercer Street.

The sports center amenities will include a six-lane indoor swimming pool, a running track, four basketball courts, a wrestling room, multiple squash courts and fitness rooms. Performing arts facilities will include a 556-person theater with balcony and mezzanine seating and an orchestra pit. Classrooms, studios, multiple theater rooms, practice rooms, rehearsal rooms and a café round out the accommodations, which will have an address of 181 Mercer Street.

Completion is still more than two years away.

Brian J. Pape is a LEED-AP “Green” Architect consulting in private practice, serves on the Manhattan District 2 Community Board, and is Co-chair of the American Institute of Architects NY Design for Aging Committee.

NYU EXPANSION AT 181 MERCER STREET, rendered looking southwest from the Mercer
Street and Bleecker Street intersection. I. M. Pei’s Silver Towers apartment buildings (in
brown tone) are just behind the new residential towers. Credit: StudioAMD Rendering.

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