Partnership of Davis Brody Bond and Kieran Timberlake Chosen To Design a Facility to Meet NYU’s Needs For Classrooms, Performing Arts Education, Athletics, and Housing



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Partnership of Davis Brody Bond and KieranTimberlake Chosen To Design a Facility to Meet NYU’s Needs For Classrooms, Performing Arts Education, Athletics, and Housing

NYU today announced that after a five-month selection process, the University has chosen a partnership of two outstanding architecture firms – Davis Brody Bond and KieranTimberlake – to design its major new facility along Mercer Street between Houston and Bleecker.

The new building will fulfill important academic space needs for NYU under a plan that was overwhelmingly approved by the City Council in 2012.  The facility’s many uses will include classrooms, teaching spaces for performing arts, a state-of-the-art sports facility, and student and faculty housing.

Collectively, the team chosen by NYU is responsible for an extraordinary roster of high profile commissions, including: the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the U.S. Embassy in London, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the 1983-2006 restoration and expansion of the New York Public Library.  In higher education, the two firms have collectively worked on projects at Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago, Princeton, Cornell, UNC-Charlotte, UCLA, UC San Diego, among many others, as well as NYU.

Among the design team’s first steps will be a process of consultation involving many stakeholders in the University community and its neighbors. Feedback from these sessions will inform an iterative design process.

Alison Leary, NYU’s Executive Vice President for Operations, said, “We chose this superb team for several reasons. First and foremost, we chose them for their reputation for design excellence.

“NYU understands it will be held to a high standard for architectural excellence, and we believe we have selected the right team for this important project. These firms have won some of the most prestigious awards in the fields of architecture and design, and the exceptional quality of their work has earned them some of the most prominent commissions of our day.

“NYU has a strong commitment to sustainability, and this team has an established track-record of integrating sustainability into their design process from inception, resulting in LEED Platinum and Gold buildings throughout the U.S. and in Europe.  And their wide experience working with many of the top institutions of higher learning means that they understand not only the unique academic needs, but also the consultative and collaborative manner in which universities go about their business.”

The Davis Brody Bond and KieranTimberlake team was chosen through an RFQ/RFP process, which launched summer 2014 with 16 initial firms. The criteria that guided the selection process included:

  • Reputation for professional excellence
    • Architectural design excellence
    • Successful experience in designing a functional and integrated building with multiple uses
    • Experience in delivering complex projects on schedule and budget
    • High environmental standards of sustainability
    • Sensitivity to environmental and cultural context
    • Sensitivity to community and historical environment
  • Successful experience in designing in a dense urban environment
  • Experience in responsiveness to diverse stakeholders
  • Experience across varying program typologies
  • Relevant size and capacity
  • A New York City presence
  • Experience with academic institutions

“A building that will serve so many purposes and so many campus and community constituencies needs to be informed by a wide range of perspectives from our community. So, I would like to thank the Superblock Stewardship Advisory Committee – which is composed of faculty, students, and administrators from across the NYU community – and its chair, Tisch Professor Laurence Maslon, for their guidance and feedback at every stage of the selection process,” added Leary.

“We would like to express our sincere appreciation to New York University for selecting our team and entrusting us with this important project,” stated William H. Paxson, AIA, Partner at Davis Brody Bond. “We are well aware of the significance of the project for NYU and for the neighborhood. A terrific amount of work by the NYU community has already gone into developing the program, goals and design principles of this new building.  Our goal will be to build upon that effort, and to help make this building a vibrant extension of a great urban campus and a sensitive addition to one of New York's most cherished neighborhoods.”

“We are delighted by the chance to work on this extremely important project, and look forward to the wonderful opportunities it can offer the University and the community,” stated James Timberlake, FAIA, Partner at KieranTimberlake. “We are committed to an open and inclusive process with NYU, Davis Brody Bond, and our talented consultant team to realize an extraordinary outcome for an engaging mixed use building that contributes mightily to the neighborhood.”

The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court ruled in favor of NYU and the City of New York in October 2014, upholding NYU’s plans for building on the superblocks and with the facility to be built on the site of the current Coles Sports Center. The petitioners appealed that ruling to the New York State Court of Appeals this month.


About NYU

New York University, founded in 1831, is one of the world’s foremost research universities and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. NYU has degree-granting university campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai; has eleven other global academic sites, including London, Paris, Florence, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Accra; and attracts more  international students and sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, engineering, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

About Davis Brody Bond

Davis Brody Bond is among the nations leading design firms and is recognized for its major contributions to the urban fabric of New York City. Davis Brody Bond has capabilities in architecture, urban design, master planning, historic preservation and interior design. The firm is the recipient of more than 200 awards for design excellence and has a unique style that responds to the physical, cultural, historical and economic contexts of each site and project.  Founded in New York in 1952, many of its iconic structures are enduringly relevant and have earned the firm a reputation for innovation and design excellence. The firm has worked with leading universities nationwide. Other iconic projects in the firm’s portfolio include the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center; the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, under construction on the National Mall in Washington, DC; the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia; the Embassy of South Africa in Washington, DC; and The Portico Gallery at The Frick Collection in New York City.  For more information visit:

About KieranTimberlake

KieranTimberlake, founded in 1984, is an award-winning architecture firm recognized for its environmental ethic, research expertise, and pioneering design and planning. The firm’s projects include the programming, planning, and design of new structures as well as the renovation and transformation of existing buildings, with special expertise in education, government, arts and culture, civic, and residential projects. The firm promotes a culture of continuous inquiry, ensuring that design results from deep investigation. KieranTimberlake is committed not only to delivering the highest quality services to its clients, but also to pursuing ideas that push the practice of architecture forward. KieranTimberlake has received hundreds of design citations, including the Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects in 2008 and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Architecture from the Smithsonian Institution in 2010.  For more information, visit

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