NYU Unveils New Audio Education Facility

Dec 17, 2009 2:39 PM


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photo of NYU’s James L. Dolan Recording/Teaching complex

NYU’s new James L. Dolan Recording/Teaching complex recording studio designed by WSDG.

NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development announces a groundbreaking new addition: the James L. Dolan Recording/Teaching complex at the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, which is said to be one of the most technically advanced audio teaching facilities in the United States. Created to provide students with an exemplary learning environment, the $6.5 million, 7,500-square-foot compound is devoted to contemporary music technology, including theory, cognition, informatics, computer music, recording, production and immersive audio.

“The scale and depth of the technological and acoustical capacity of this facility is unparalleled,” says Dr. Robert Rowe, vice-chair, director of music composition. “We are deeply appreciative of the contributions by James L. Dolan, president and CEO of Cablevision Systems Corporation and chairman of Madison Square Garden, and the Dolan Family Foundation, as well as New York University and the Steinhardt School, without whose support this dream could not have been realized.”

To create a teaching complex of this magnitude, an NYU Steinhardt School faculty team comprising Dr. Rowe, Tom Beyer (chief systems engineer/adjunct professor), program director Dr. Kenneth Peacock and Dr. Agnieszka Roginska (associate director of music technology) formed a master team of architects, acousticians and technologists.

“In 2007, when the entire sixth floor of our 35 West 4th Street building was dedicated to the new facility, we initiated a vigorous RFP process,” Dr. Rowe says. “Having worked on a number of NYU and Steinhardt projects, Gensler was an obvious choice as our primary architectural firm. The Walters Storyk Design Group was highly recommended for architectural and acoustical design. In addition to extensive high-end recording studio design credits, they have created many of this country’s finest audio teaching facilities.”

Describing their architectural program, Gensler principal and design director Keith Rosen comments, “The view into the control room through the reception area rear wall immediately establishes Steinhardt as an advanced teaching facility. The challenge was to fit an extremely dense program into a relatively tight space. To maximize the flexibility of the larger multifunctional spaces, such as the conference/performance room and study/pantry areas, we developed various private and shared spaces along a single circulation loop. Glass interior walls and doors provide students and faculty with natural light, a great asset in a facility with interior studios. Raised floor construction will ease changes in program and technology. The existing steel trusses slicing through the space were embraced as organizing elements for the control room and other critical sound isolation areas. The punched windows provide visitors with views into the recording studios. The design constraints we encountered have been turned into powerful aesthetic and way-finding elements.”

Walters-Storyk Design Group associates—systems integrator Judy Elliot-Brown; project manager Joshua Morris; technology integrator David Kotch; and architect/acoustician John Storyk—worked closely with the Gensler design team, which comprised project principal Joshua Katz; project managers Alfonso D’ Onofrio and Kent Hikida; project designer Kelly Combs; designer Joshua Geisinger and design director Keith Rosen. Together, they planned and executed the facility’s demanding recording studio and performance environments.

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