Fir sure: New School center tops out on 5th Ave.
BY ALBERT AMATEAU | More than 200 faculty, staff and neighbors of The New School joined Tishman construction workers last week as an evergreen was hoisted to the top of the 16th story of 65 Fifth Ave. in the traditional topping-out ceremony for the school’s University Center.
When the center opens in 2013 it will add 375,000 square feet to the school, including state-of-the-art classrooms, design studios, a new auditorium and a dorm for 600 students.
In the half-finished, 800-seat event space/auditorium on the new building’s ground floor, David Van Zandt, New School president, paid tribute to former New School President Bob Kerrey, who is currently running for the U.S. Senate in Nebraska.
Van Zandt, dean of Northwestern University Law School before he became New School president in 2011, introduced John Tishman, former president of The New School’s board of trustees, and his son, David Tishman, chief executive officer of the company building the new center.
Van Zandt also acknowledged the school’s trustees and administrative staff, who along with Douglas Durst, Tishman’s development partner in the project, took part in the building’s planning process in 2009 when Kerrey was the school’s president.
Louis Wright, a graduating design student, also welcomed visitors to the Thurs., May 17, topping-out ceremony, which was on the day before The New School’s 2012 commencement.
Designed by Skidmore Owings Merrill and Merrill’s lead architect, Roger Duffy, the building, located between 13th and 14th Sts., has two below-grade floors. Retail space is planned for the ground floor’s 14th St. side.
Academic and administrative uses will be from the ground floor to the seventh floor. Dormitory space will occupy the eighth to the 16th floors.
The building will be “green,” with a LEED gold environmental rating.
The as-of-right University Center, 178 feet tall, evolved from an earlier 2007 design for a 350-foot-tall building.
The New School acquired the two-story Lane’s department store site in the 1960s for about $10 million, according to Julien J. Studley, one of the guests at the topping-out ceremony, who recalled brokering the acquisition.