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John Jay College, Academic Building I

City University of New York | CUNY 

Designed to meet LEED Silver criteria, John Jay College's Academic Building I occupies the entire block bounded by Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, between 58th and 59th Streets. Envisioned as an “academic city within a city,” it houses 80% of the college’s classrooms and expands campus area by 36%, emphatically marking a new era in the school’s history. The project consists of a 14-story tower, perched above very shallow Amtrak rail lines, and a 4-story podium structure that connects to the existing historic 1903 Haaren Hall building via an overhead walkway, which spans the rail lines.

Totaling 625,000 sf (58,000 sm), Academic Building I contains classrooms, research laboratories, faculty offices, auditoriums, cafeterias and social spaces, including a 55,000-sf landscaped green roof that serves as a new campus commons.

To accommodate Amtrak rail lines that pass directly underneath the Ground Floor, LERA devised a complex foundation system comprised of drilled-in caissons and cast-in-place concrete piers, doubling the structural layer within minimal depth and isolating the track enclosure from the building. Where intersection between these layers could not be avoided, neoprene pads were strategically placed to limit the transmission of vibration and noise from one layer to the other (additional vibration analysis was performed for laboratory areas). A system of perimeter hangers, supported by a grid of trusses at roof level, is integral to the design of long span framing and cascading stairs. These perimeter hangers lessen the load on the track enclosure, transferring it to the building core. Gradation of the site allowed for the formation of a basement level housing mechanical and storage spaces and back-of-house functions.



New York, NY  



Dormitory Authority of the State of New York



Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 



Honor Award for New Construction, 2017
American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York State Excelsior Awards for Public Architecture


Presidential Award, 2015

American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2) Awards


National Honor Award for Architecture, 2015

American Institute of Architects (AIA) National


NY Excellence in Urban Learning Environment Design Award, 2014

Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) New York


Architecture Design Award of Honor, 2013

American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York


Excellence in Architecture for a New Building, 2013

Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)/ American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education 


Award of Merit, 2012

Engineering News-Record (ENR)


Annual Design Review, 2012

Architect Magazine


Award of Merit, 2012

American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York State


Design Award: Project, 2005

American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York


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