While most of New York University’s campus seamlessly weaves into the historic urban fabric surrounding Washington Square Park, the new John A. Paulson Center stands as its own bustling city block: a beacon of centrality, connectivity, and community. Working in collaboration with Kieran Timberlake and Davis Brody Bond, NYU envisioned a single building with an array of essential programs to accommodate the University’s pressing academic, athletic, artistic, and residential needs. The Design Team organized the various programs into unique “neighborhoods,” and oriented them around an extraordinary “commons” space for gathering.
The building enclosure is comprised of glazed vertical and wedge-shaped curtain wall units incorporating a high-performance low-E coating with a custom frit pattern designed to reduce bird strikes. There are two types of wedge units. The first type is angled in plan and deployed on the student residential tower and podium; by pulling one vertical edge of glass outward and wrapping the resulting edges with metal panels the units provided external visual articulation of the building mass, self-shading of the facade, and create unique interior spaces to pause and view the city beyond. The second wedge type is sloped in section and deployed on the faculty housing tower; inward sloping spandrels create dramatic shadows, a unique reflection when compared to the adjacent vertical units, and provides a complementary texture to the other wedge elements.
The apparent contradiction between dynamic facade articulation and the efficiencies required for production and installation of curtain wall units presented design, engineering, and performance challenges. Heintges helped the Design Team resolve these challenges through the development of a composite extrusion system where the glass planes are sloped as required by the design, while maintaining true vertical mullions, enabling both wedge types within a single system strategy.
In response to the University’s commitment to sustainability, including PlaNYC and a Charter signatory of the ACUPCC Climate Neutral Target of 2040, the project is on target for LEED Gold Certification.
Heintges provided building envelope and curtain wall consulting services during all phases of design and construction including NYC Special Inspections.
(Image Credit: Connie Zhou / JBSA)