31 in 31: #24

This is a series for August 2010 which documents my on-the-ground -- and on-the-webs -- research for my guidebook to contemporary NYC architecture (to be released next year by W. W. Norton). Archives can be found at the bottom of the post and via the 31 in 31 label.

catholic west 4th 002

Until 2009 the Holy Trinity Chapel, Generoso Pope Catholic Center at NYU (above, 1964, Eggers & Higgins) occupied the northeastern tip of Thompson Street across the street from Washington Square Park. The concrete, brick, and stained glass structure wasn't exactly beautiful, but it was nevertheless appealing, especially as NYU's surrounding buildings grew to dwarf it. Taking its place is the university's Center for Academic and Spiritual Life, a six-story building designed by Boston's Machado and Silvetti Associates, now under construction.

[View from Washington Square Park | image source]

Framed by Washington Square Arch, the north facade presents what looks to be a stone lattice that is variegated across the elevation, turning the corner on Thompson and dissipating into solid stone. Interior renderings in this project PDF indicate that the windows are not punched openings, but continuous floor-to-ceiling glass behind the lattice as screen. This may make the building stronger at night, as the interior glows through the patterned stone, like a contemporary rendition of stained glass. Of course this thinking points to the potential of the variety in the stone lattice towards a related expression: A figural image related to building's function? Embedded color glass in a similar vein? Right now the logic of the pattern is not evident and runs the risk of looking muddled to all but those seeing through the stone from inside.

[Entrance | image source]

#1 - Phyto Universe
#2 - One Bryant Park
#3 - Pier 62 Carousel
#4 - Bronx River Art Center
#5 - The Pencil Factory
#6 - Westbeth Artists' Housing
#7 - 23 Beekman Place
#8 - Metal Shutter Houses
#9 - Bronx Box
#10 - American Academy of Arts and Letters
#11 - FDR Four Freedoms Park
#12 - One Madison Park
#13 - Pio Pio Restaurant
#14 - Queens West (Stage II)
#15 - 785 Eighth Avenue
#16 - Big BambĂș
#17 - Event Horizon
#18 - Murano
#19 - William Lescaze House
#20 - Morgan Library and Museum
#21 - MTA Flood Mitigation
#22 - Wilf Hall
#23 - Yohji Yamamoto


  1. any construction photos?

    man I am sad to see the other building go!

  2. John-David - I walked by it the other day but didn't take a picture. Some steel framing at the northern portion of the site overlooking Washington Square was up about two or three floors. That's about all that was visible. It's been a hole in the ground for a while, but now it's finally rising.


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