One Building. Many Purposes.

Like NYU itself, the John A. Paulson Center at 181 Mercer does a lot. More classrooms than any other NYU building, plus instructional, rehearsal, practice, and performance spaces for NYU's drama and music programs, including NYU's first professional-level proscenium, fly-loft theatre for student productions. Study space and a Commons for a university without a quad. A sports center that will be home for NYU's student/athletes and those looking to stay fit. Housing for freshmen. Housing for faculty. And dedicated space for the local community.
One building; many purposes.

Schedule of Phased Openings

  • Dedication of Building — December 14, 2022
  • RAs and RHD Move-in — January 13, 2023
  • Removal of All Construction Fencing — January 18, 2023
  • Student Residents Move-in — January 18, 2023
  • Classrooms Opening — January 23, 2023
  • Greene St. Walk Opening — January 24, 2023
  • Greene St. Playgarden Opening — January 25, 2023
  • Houston St. Entrance Opening — Anticipated 1st week of February 2023
  • Dining Locations Opening — Anticipated mid-February 2023 (pending DOH approval)
  • Cantor (Proscenium) Theatre Opening — Inaugural Event March 31/April 1, 2023, Programming begins Fall 2023
  • African Grove and Other Theatre Opening — Inaugural Event March 31/April 1, 2023, Programming begins Fall 2023
  • Athletics Facilities
    • Cardio Room — March 27, 2023
    • Squash Courts — March 27, 2023
    • Fencing Salle — March 27, 2023
    • Wrestling Room — March 27, 2023
    • Pool — June 2023
    • Workout Room — Opening soon
    • Multi-use B-ball Courts — Anticipated opening Summer 2023
  • Exterior Terrace Opening — Anticipated March 2023
  • Faculty Residences Opening — Anticipated March 2023
  • Greene St. Walk to ST Plaza Path — Anticipated Spring 2023

Construction related punch list work will continue through the spring. Please contact with any questions or concerns.


Academic space is the foremost building use, with nearly 40 percent of the square footage directed towards educational purposes. With 58 general-purpose classrooms, the Paulson Center will exceed the Silver Center’s classroom total by 50%, enabling NYU to better match classes with appropriately-sized rooms. And the Paulson Center will also provide NYU’s music and performing arts programs with state-of-the-art, purpose-built spaces for its music and theatre students, including a 350-seat theatre, dozens of new music instruction and practice rooms, and the University’s first orchestral ensemble room.

181 Mercer from Houson St. looking north east

Paulson Center from Houston Street looking northeast

181 Mercer Commons

Paulson Center Commons

Community and Connection

Almost all NYU students live in student housing their freshman year – easing their transition to college life, steeping themselves in NYU’s intellectually diverse community, and forming friendships and bonds. The Paulson Center will build on that tradition: a freshman “residential college” as part of a building that also houses athletic facilities; faculty housing; a Commons for students to meet, connect, and study; and academic programming. A building that will itself build community.


Emphasizing transparency, lightness, green roofs, and common spaces, the Paulson Center’s design gracefully accommodates its many uses. By moving circulation to the building’s perimeter and through the second floor “Commons,” the design encourages interactions between students and faculty, athletes and artists, residents and audience members. Though slimmer and 20% smaller than allowed by City approvals process, the building meets NYU’s pressing academic needs, fosters connection between people, makes NYU’s vibrancy and diversity visible for observers, reinforces NYU’s connection to the city, and is mindful of our neighbors and neighborhood. A building of which NYU can be proud.

Mercer Street looking south

Mercer Street looking south

181 Mercer green roof looking southwest

Paulson Center green roof looking southwest


Designed in line with NYU’s Climate Action Plan (PDF), the Paulson Center is committed to environmental responsibility. This includes connecting to NYU’s high-efficiency, greenhouse-gas- and pollutant-lowering Co-Generation (CoGen) facility which produces electricity, heat, and chilled water; a transparent façade that reduces energy requirements through natural light; low-flow plumbing; green roofs and outdoor terraces with low-irrigation plants to help naturally cool the building, with a retention tank, to manage rainwater runoff; aggressive recycling during demolition and construction; and state-of-the-art building management systems.


Building Massing

The Paulson Center's height and massing is inspired by its surrounding neighborhood, while its elegant and transparent façade reinforces the sense of openness found within the building’s interior. The design — slimmer, smaller, and lighter than the envelope set by the City approvals process — meets a crucial set of academic and NYU community needs within a single structure and consciously engages pedestrians and observers in the nearby streets.