New School News

Sweet Sixteen: Celebrating the University Center’s Topping Out

President Van Zandt leaves his mark on the University Center. Photo by Michael Divito, 2012.

On May 17, the rising University Center played host to its first major event, as hundreds gathered for the building’s “topping out”, marking the completion of vertical construction. In the building’s concrete auditorium, President David E. Van Zandt welcomed university trustees, staff, students and faculty, as well as community representatives, members of the Tishman Construction Corporation and the project’s construction workers to the celebration, which he called the culmination of years of planning, community-building, discussion and design.

Tishman Construction CEO Daniel Tishman and graduating Eugene Lang College senior and Tishman Environment and Design Scholar Lou Wright also spoke to mark the occasion, after which guests proceeded to the building’s seventh floor to sign concrete supports, leaving their indelible mark on the Center.

The University Center The New School’s largest-ever construction project, adding to the university’s Greenwich Village campus 375,000 square feet of classrooms, a library, an auditorium, a 608-bed student residence, and other facilities. Designed by SOM’s award-winning architect Roger Duffy, the University Center will serve as a central meeting point for students and faculty across the university’s disciplines, including art and design, liberal arts, social research, and the performing arts.

As Wright noted in his remarks, the University Center will be one of New York’s greenest buildings, with a projected LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold rating, and innovative sustainability features including a rainwwater-saving green roof, for which The New School recently received a grant from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

To learn more about The New School’s University Center, read Provost Tim Marshall’s op-ed on the project in The Villager and visit

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