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News > Context Winter 2021 > 181 Mercer

181 Mercer

Renderings: Brooklyn Digital Foundry
Renderings: Brooklyn Digital Foundry

As an urban campus, New York University is in great need of increased space to strengthen its academic culture. In response to requests across many departments, 181 Mercer was conceived as a multi-use building of 750,000 square feet at a prominent site on Houston Street. NYU prioritized specialized spaces for its renowned performing arts programs, as well as spaces for academic instruction, athletics, student life, and student and faculty housing. Working in collaboration with Davis Brody Bond, KieranTimberlake designed a building that accommodates these diverse needs, embodying the character and vibrancy of NYU and offering new ways to engage with the city. The building is intended to build community through its varied and eclectic uses, organizing them into neighborhoods that connect to an expansive Commons offering a place of meeting, gathering, and study. 181 Mercer takes advantage of its 360-degree relationship with the city by placing circulation along a transparent perimeter and program spaces toward the center. This reversal of conventional building organization allows daylight and views to be shared by all, providing natural wayfinding, and revealing NYU’s vibrancy and activity to the outside.

The Performing Arts program includes a 350-seat fully equipped proscenium theater shared by the entire NYU community for larger-scale performances; two flexible theaters of 150 seats each, the End Stage and Warehouse, as well as eight acting studios, for the Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama; and a range of ensemble and individual music practice spaces for the Steinhardt School’s Music and Performing Arts programs. The complex volumetric and technical needs of these spaces were accommodated through an iterative, participatory design process with priority given to spatial character and quality, acoustics, sight lines, production capability, front of house amenities, and back of house operations.

Project: 181 Mercer

Location: New York, New York

Client: New York University

Project Size: 750,000 sf 

Project Team:
KieranTimberlake (Architect)

Davis Brody Bond, LLP (Architect of Record )

Langan (Civil Engineering)

Severud Associates- Consulting Engineers PC (Structural Engineering)

Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers, PC (MEP/FP Engineering)

Fisher Dachs Associates (Theatre Planning & Design)

JaffeHolden (Theatre Acoustic Design)

Cerami & Associates (Building Acoustic Design)     

Tillotson Design Associates (Lighting Design)

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc (Landscape Design)

Atelier Ten (Environmental Design)

Davella Studios (Culinary Design)

Heintges Consulting Engineers P.C. (Curtain Wall Consultant)

Sasaki (Athletics Design)

Van Deusen & Associates (Elevator Consultant)

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (Roofing Consultant)

Spacesmith (FF&E)

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