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Hickok Cole Architects' NYU-DC Academic Center

By Adam Moore

The 75,000-squarefoot facility will provide a semester study experience in the nation’s capital for NYU students.

Last fall, crews broke ground on NYU-DC—officially named the New York University Constance Milstein and Family Academic Center—located on L Street NW in the downtown core of Washington, D.C., just blocks from the White House and the Smithsonian. The 75,000-square-foot facility, designed by Hickok Cole Architects, will provide a semester study experience in the nation's capital for NYU students studying public policy, political science, international relations, economics and art history.

The Center will include space for student living quarters; student life space; a 200-seat lecture hall that can also be used for events; small classrooms and seminar rooms; faculty and administrative offices; and additional remote space for visitors from other NYU schools and programs such as the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the Brademas Center for the Study of Congress and the Brennan Center for Justice.

Hickok Cole Architects' design team sought to characterize the 12-story, mixed use building as an institutional space buzzing with public activity. A balcony runs along the building façade outside the reading room, visually separating the student housing from the academic areas below. Six floors of dormitories feature four-person suites, provided with shading and privacy through an external screening system. The designers strove to create equitable living spaces despite the challenges of the narrow, 60-foot wide site.

The building will also embrace NYU's commitment to sustainability. Elements including a green roof, high-performance glass, glass fins and the noticeable absence of parking (encouraging pedestrian and mass transit) have been incorporated in the design, with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification targeted.

NYU expects approximately 125 students to enroll at the Center each semester, with the first group of students expected in the fall of 2012. For more information, visit