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NYU Unveils John A. Paulson Center, Home to Athletics, Dorms, Theatre, and More

The John A. Paulson Center, New York University’s (NYU) new, 735,000-square-foot mixed-use academic building, opened to the public on January 23, 2023.

The new building, with design led by Davis Brody Bond and KieranTimberlake, graciously accommodates NYU’s academic needs, embodies its character and vibrancy, and offers new ways for the University to engage with its community and the city of New York. It has a 360-degree relationship with the neighborhood, and the openness of the building encourages connections and intellectual exchanges that are at the center of the NYU experience.

Sasaki led the design of the new athletic and recreation facility within the building. It is a multi-dimensional destination for varsity athletes, general recreation users, and students seeking wellness. The facility features on-campus, NCAA regulation competition spaces, a variety of fitness and wellness spaces, and specialty courts that accommodate athletic competitions as well as large events such as graduation ceremonies. These spaces include:

  • A four-court basketball/volleyball gym 
  • Moveable seats and bleachers in the gymnasium
  • Wrestling and fencing spaces
  • A dedicated sports medicine suite
  • General and varsity locker room facilities
  • Open weights and cardio machine spaces
  • A six-lane, recreation pool
  • An elevated two-lane running track around the four-court gym
  • 2 regulation international squash courts
  • Multiple group-fitness rooms
  • Interactive NYU Hall of Fame gallery

This project reinforces NYU’s commitment to their motto, which translates to “A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body.”

The John A. Paulson Center is designed to bring diverse student groups and academic disciplines together. The building also includes classrooms, informal study spaces, performing arts theaters, rehearsal and practice rooms, and a café, as well as faculty and first-year student housing. 

“This-state-of-the-art facility offers engaging and dynamic spaces for sports, fitness, personal wellness and socializing that complement student and faculty housing, dining, and performing arts spaces in one, exciting urban destination,” says Sasaki principal Bill Massey.

“Athletics, recreation and wellness have become an integral part of the student life experience in recent years,” continues Massey. “Whether one is cheering along with their friends at a game, fulfilling their personal fitness goals, or de-stressing after a long day by attending a yoga or meditation class, 181 Mercer Street provides the NYU community with sports and wellness spaces that make a difference. This new facility stands out with its bold architectural form, its serene interior spaces, and its recognition of its important and historical urban context. It will no doubt be a magnet of attraction for the entire NYU community for decades to come.”

Designed in support of NYU’s Climate Action Plan, the building incorporates sustainable design features to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and the amount of waste generated during construction and everyday use.

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