New University Center Design Vision
Downstate Medical Center
New York, NY
SBLM Architects viewed this as a unique opportunity to engage both the University community and its neighborhood. The design approach not only leveraged the built space but also incorporated site improvements to transform the University into a hub for its surrounding campus and community. The planning utilized two distinct strategies. At street level, spaces that fostered daily communal destinations and student culture were woven together, each with its own distinct forms.
The street level was porous, providing opportunities for many entrances and pathways. The forms gave each use its own identity and place while working together to create a commons. They were buildings within a building, collectively acting as a campus within a campus. Where possible, spaces engaged outdoor areas. Engagement was public at the street level, offering private spaces with connections to a roof promenade. These planned spaces pragmatically used zoning yard and setback requirements, extending the capacity of built space and enriching the health and quality of its users.
Above street level, the building employed a planning parti of a double-loaded bar, terminated with flexible multi-purpose spaces. This brought economy and efficiency to a large portion of the building. Windows toward the interior of the site connected occupants with the facility’s outdoor space. Meanwhile, the street-facing side of the buildings proposed a residential scale to contextually relate to the neighboring sites