The Copper Alliance announced SOM’s University Center at the New School as a recipient of the 2015 North American Copper in Architecture Award, at a ceremony held on May 14, 2015. Now in its eighth year, the awards program recognizes North American buildings that demonstrate the exemplary application of copper and copper alloys. This year 12 projects were honored across three categories: renovation/restoration, ornamental applications, and new construction.
Located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street, the 375,000-square-foot University Center creates a dialogue between the campus community, the local neighborhood, and the city. SOM conceived the facility as a true vertical campus, placing a 600-bed dormitory over seven floors of academic space that also includes an 800-seat auditorium, library, cafeteria, and other common spaces for students and faculty. Interactive spaces are dispersed throughout the 7-story base building, as well.
SOM’s design also reflects the progressive nature of The New School, by visibly expressing this innovative interior organization on the new building's exterior. Glass makes up 35 percent of the facade and its remaining area is wrapped in bands of muntz metal — a brass-like blend of copper and zinc that has been pre-patinated to a golden brown. In total, approximately 7,500 metal panels are mounted to the structure. These shingles also evoke the cast-iron and brownstone facades of adjacent historic districts.
Most new construction projects undertaken in New York feature facades whose glass coverage hovers around 75 percent. Unlike them, University Center’s banded muntz metal face and ribbon windows provide a glazing ratio of 31.5 percent, mediating heat gain while maximizing daylight and views.