Volume 76, Number 52 | May 23 -29, 2007

N.Y.U. picks team to devise long-range growth plan

New York University last week chose a planning team to help draw up the university’s strategic plan intended to provide guidance for N.Y.U.’s academic needs and physical development over the next 25 years.

The strategic plan, long awaited by Village preservationists anxious about the impact on the neighborhood by N.Y.U. projects, will involve several meetings over the summer seeking input from community groups and representatives of elected officials, according to the university’s May 17 announcement.

The strategic plan is known as N.Y.U. 200, looking forward to the university’s 200th anniversary in 2031.

The consulting team, led by SMWM, an interdisciplinary design firm responsible for several projects at universities around the nation, includes Grimshaw Architects, Toshiko Mori Architect and the Olin Partnership. The team was chosen from among 11 initial proposals and three finalists.

Lori Pavese Mazor, N.Y.U. associate vice president for planning and design, said the SMWM team was chosen because it understood that “N.Y.U. was founded on the principle of being in and of the city.”

The team will work with the university’s Office of Strategic Assessment, Planning and Design over the coming year and organize a series of N.Y.U. summer focus groups, including the Faculty and Student Senates, the Inter-Residents Council, Administrative Management Council and the Academic Priorities Council.

SMWM uses what it calls “Planning Game,” a community-based process that provides a forum for public hands-on participation in the design concept.

While N.Y.U. has five locations in New York City, the focus of the strategic plan will be the Washington Square and Union Square neighborhoods. The team will examine where opportunities exist, how the university can best use existing properties and which programs should be concentrated in the so-called campus core areas and which can or should be located elsewhere. Sustainable “green” facilities will be an important aspect of the team’s mandate.

SMWM, with offices in New York and San Francisco, has completed planning studies for Harvard, Brown and the University of San Francisco, including guidelines for the new Mission Bay campus of the San Francisco school. The firm is currently working on projects in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., and a music conservatory for Bard College.

Grimshaw, founded in London in 1980, established a New York office in 2001, and has won more than 100 design awards in several countries.

Toshiko Mori has designed a visitors center in Buffalo and additions to modernist houses designed by Marcel Breuer and Paul Rudolph; the firm is designing an environmental lab for Syracuse University, and won a 2005 medal of honor awarded by the New York City Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Olin Partnership, an internationally acclaimed landscape and urban design firm based in Philadelphia, has completed projects for Harvard, Yale, Duke, University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and did the redesigns of Bryant Park and Columbus Circle.

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