Constructive Summer: New Schoolers On-Site at the University Center

Third-year Parsons MA candidate Josh Stone makes his way across the outside platform on the seventh floor of the University Center.

This summer, Parsons students and alumni are teaming up with Tishman Construction to help build the new University Center. Four interns are working with the construction company to learn the ropes of architectural design while contributing to the evolution and expansion of The New School.

“It’s cool to work on something we will benefit from,” says Rebecca Rand, a second-year MA candidate in architecture. Fellow architecture student Kristen Garibaldi agrees. “At Parsons, we have a one-to-one scale, meaning we actually build the designs we draw here,” she explains. “This internship is just an example of that.”

Susan Andershock, a 2012 graduate from the AAS Interior Design program, values the internship as a way to maintain a connection with the university. As someone with a strong interest in sustainable design, she also appreciates the “holistic approach to the building, from start to finish.”

Each intern has a focus project for the summer, including work on the interior lighting design, implementation of an ecofriendly wastewater system, and work in the field office. The interns point to different aspects of the design of which they are particularly fond.

“For me, it’s all about the custom linear lighting that runs through the dual staircases,” remarks Garibaldi. Her enthusiasm for the center’s lighting design and technology has only increased over the first three weeks of her internship. “This is an incredibly efficient LED lighting system that will trace through the entire building,” she continues, mimicking the motion of an ocean wave with her hands.

Rand focuses on the building as a whole. Moving beyond the traditional institutional model, the University Center is designed to promote a feeling of openness; with large windows and few erected walls, the space will feel and look expansive and transparent. “The designers of this building are really making their mark,” says Rand. “It’s like an anthill of education.”

As for Andershock, she appreciates the innovative sustainability features the new university flagship will boast. These include the ice storage cooling system, which will complement the air conditioning system, and the building’s internal electricity generator, which will relieve pressure on the public grid.

With the University Center slated to open in fall 2013, there is much work ahead for students and crews working to complete construction. Check out the building’s progress at the University Center website, www.newschool.edu/universitycenter.