"Inside are some spectacular rooms, including a wood-paneled, 800-seat auditorium that will become a popular downtown event space. (The New School is the owner of another auditorium, one of the most beautiful in New York, in its art deco Joseph Urban building at 66-76 West 12th Street.) The most interesting feature of the new building is its stairwells. The facility, containing classrooms, a multi-level library, cafeteria, and 146 dormitory suites on its top nine floors, required multiple fire stairs. It also needed large, open stairways that students could use to get from class to class, and which could serve as gathering places (a la the stairwell in Thom Mayne’s Cooper Union building a few blocks away)."
This reviewer is critical of the design and its effects on the surroundings.
The New School, a university that includes the Parsons School of Design, has long operated out of a motley collection of spaces in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. Hoping to create a campus center, the school proposed building a 350-foot-tall tower on a site has owned since the 1960s, at Fifth Avenue and 14th Street. A tall, tapered building would have enhanced that crossroads. But facing neighborhood opposition, the school scaled back its plans, ending up with a structure that, at 16 stories and 178 feet, is so squat it looks incomplete—inadvertently suggesting that the institution lacks ambition.