The New School University Center: Structural Challenges and Solutions


January 22, 2014

Located at the busy corner of 5th Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan, The New School University Center is a vertically-stacked academic and student housing structure that will be the focal point for campus life at The New School.

Project Overviewnew-school-mini02

The 18-story complex contains two below-grade levels and provides space for all aspects of campus life. Housing 10,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor, 230,000 square feet of academic space on the first seven floors, and 135,000 square feet of 600-bed student apartments on the remaining nine floors, the structure totals approximately 375,000 gross square feet.

Structural Challenges & Solutions

the-new-school-rendering01Several unique architectural features called for creative and integrated structural solutions in this LEED Gold facility. Due to the inherent dissimilarities between the mixed-use dormitory and academic space planning, multiple building zoning set-backs, and a multi-story 700 seat auditorium, a complex series of structural transfers were necessary to accommodate the interface between various programs.

Open, column-free space in the auditorium necessitated three long-span, steel trusses to transfer the load of the building above. These trusses varied between 10 feet to 12 feet in depth and 65 feet to 80 feet in span. Additional transfer levels at 7 and 16 facilitated the transition between academic, residential and mechanical programs.

A 27-inch-thick, 10,000 PSI slab at the set-back level afforded transition between larger 30-foot by 30-foot podium bays to a staggered residential column grid. Over the auditorium, the floor system was comprised of a steel-framed slab on metal deck intermediate to the primary trusses to mitigate the need for a multi-story shoring system over the sloped auditorium seating structure below.

new-school-mini03A series of stacked, reinforced concrete exit and access stairways were bracketed from the sloping perimeter concrete column structure using a combination of steel tube trusses, Vierendeel panels, and steel hangers. These trusses, which also served a dual purpose as lateral load resisting frames to supplement the main shear wall cores, were expressed through the exterior facade as part of the building’s exterior aesthetic. Steel elements integrated seamlessly with the primary concrete building frame via connections to steel column collars and embed plate structure.

Current Status

new-school-featured-imageStudents moved into the upper tower residences prior to the Fall 2013 semester. Interior construction continues in the lower level academic podium with an anticipated date of completion by the Fall 2014 semester.

Project Team

Owner | The New School
Developer | The Durst Organization
Architects | SOM, SLCE Architects
General Contractor | Tishman Construction
Mechanical Engineer | Cosentini Associates

Desimone Employees

Principal | Stephen V. DeSimone
Project Manager | Michael F. Beals