Volume 73, Number 37 | January 14 - 20, 2004

N.Y.U. opens new building for law school

By Albert Amateau

From left, Jay Furman, the new N.Y.U. School of Law building’s main benefactor; John Sexton, university president; and Martin Lipton, chairperson of N.Y.U.’s board of trustees.

New York University School of Law students, professors, administrators and benefactors turned out for the chilly morning ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 12 for the opening of Furman Hall, the law school’s first new academic building in 50 years.

Shortly after the 8:30 a.m. ceremony, the first class in the building (“Multi-state Taxation in the New Millennium”) met on the second floor, with about 50 students.

Named for Jay Furman, a 1971 N.Y.U. law school graduate, philanthropist and benefactor of the law school, the nine-story building on W. Third St. between Sullivan and Thompson Sts. includes classrooms, seminar rooms, moot courtrooms and student meeting rooms as well as a cafe and student lounge on the first two floors. The seventh to ninth floors are devoted to faculty residences with a separate entrance on Thompson St.

Law School Dean Richard Revesz led the ceremony, which included University President John Sexton; Martin Lipton, chairperson of the N.Y.U. Board of Trustees; and Lester Pollack, chairperson of the N.Y.U. School of Law Foundation.

“The groundbreaking for this building took place on Sept, 28, 2001, just 17 days after Sept. 11 — it was the first major construction groundbreaking in the city following the tragedies,” said Revesz. “It was completed on time and under budget,” he added.

Revesz paid tribute to former Dean John Sexton’s vision of “a leadership law school,” whose prestige and influence are among the best in the nation and the world.

Furman Hall, which encloses 170,000 square feet, is connected by an underground passage beneath Sullivan St. with Vanderbilt Hall, built in 1951 as the first building devoted entirely to the School of Law.

The Global Law Center, devoted to research and teaching on issues of international law, occupies the new building’s third floor. Administrative offices are on the fourth floor, and the fifth and sixth floors are dedicated to the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Clinical Law Center, which gives second- and third-year students the chance to work on a variety of real civil and criminal cases supervised by faculty members.

The construction of the school aroused antagonism among Greenwich Village residents because it required the demolition of two historic buildings, the Judson Church House of Judson Memorial Church, renovated by the firm of McCoy, Mead and White in 1899, and an 1830s row house where Edgar Allan Poe lived for six months in 1845-’46.

The recreated facades of both historic buildings have been incorporated into Furman Hall’s facade and artifacts from the former “Poe House” are in an exhibit space commemorating Poe. The Poe memorial is open to the public on a regular scheduled basis.

The profile of Furman Hall was limited to 128 feet from street level to the last occupied floor so that sky will continue to be seen behind the historic Judson Memorial Church campanile, which N.Y.U. owns and which houses the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center. On Thompson St., the building rises 38 feet from street level and then sets back 20 feet to better highlight the recreated Judson Church House facade and to recreate a remnant of the block’s former low-scale street wall.


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