To Home Page 





5 acres, at Bleecker Street and West Broadway, on the eastern edge of Greenwich Village

Index to Projects in New York

New York, New York

Gross Floor Area
747,000 s/f including 135,000 s/f underground parking

Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
Washington Square Southeast Apartments, Inc.

Time Frame
   Winter 1961–
   November 1964–
   October 1966
   (NYU towers:
   July 1966)

University Plaza,
New York University

New York, New York
Completed 1967




I. M. Pei
James Ingo Freed


30-story residential complex comprising two towers for NYU graduate students / faculty, one middle-income co-op apartment tower, public sculpture court and parking

Click on image to enlarge    

This three-tower project was undertaken to relieve NYU's housing shortage in its transition from commuter college to residential university. The city transferred the urban renewal site to the university provided that one third be reserved for Mitchell-Lama moderate-income cooperatives.

The sheer size of the 534-apartment project precluded integration with low-rise Greenwich Village, and thus tall, slender shafts were designed in counterpoint. Each has a pinwheel plan with solid sheer walls and skeletal grids extending out from a central core to break the tower masses into smaller, vertical elements. Interiors vary, but externally the towers are identical, unified by architectural concrete that was poured in-place in reusable fiberglass forms to yield the greatest possibilities within the very low budget mandated. The resultant grids identify the "spatial packages" inside, the depth of a standard apartment defined by the sheer walls' 22-foot expanse.

At ground level the towers are directional. NYU's two buildings lead onto a landscaped plaza while the co-ops open onto their own mews. Orientation notwithstanding, the towers collectively define a central urban space dominated by a sand-blasted concrete bust of Sylvette — Picasso's second major public work in the United States and the first of its kind in the western hemisphere. The sculpture's installation at NYU (atop the project's underground garage) serves the public, art and education alike.


Major Components

Three 275' high towers containing studios, 1-4 bedroom apartments; NYU towers (2): each 145,700 s/f net apartment space on 29 floors + 55,000 s/f underground parking for 90 cars; Co-op tower (1): 145,700 s/f net apartment space on 29 floors + 2,000 s/f professional offices, and 25,000 s/f underground parking for 90 cars; landscaped private mews and public plaza; 60-ton, 36-foot-high sand-blasted concrete sculpture by Picasso




The Landmarks Preservation Commission,
City of New York: New York City Landmark Designation



American Institute of Architects:
National Honor Award



City Club of New York: Albert S. Bard Award



Concrete Industry Board Award


I. M. Pei & Associates services

Complete Architectural Services



Farkas and Barron, New York, NY


Mechanical / Electrical

Farkas and Barron, New York, NY



Photo credits

Profile   Projects   Contacts   Contents