KHA’s project for SUNY College of Optometry in New York City has won an AIA New York State Excelsior Merit Award. These awards recognize excellence in the design and construction of state-funded, public buildings. Winners will be recognized at an event in Albany on April 30, 2018.
The College of Optometry is a vertical campus on 18 floors of an office building on 42 Street in the center of Midtown Manhattan, across from Bryant Park and the New York Public Library. The renovation of the lobby and two upper floors provides a connection with Bryant Park and new amenities critical to the graduate student experience.
The redesign of the public lobby on 42 Street was the key to creating a welcoming and easy to navigate experience for patients visiting the University Eye Center, one of the largest outpatient facilities in the nation, welcoming 70,000 visitors a year. The lobby provides a through-block pedestrian avenue and is the home of Space | 42, a satellite of the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College, open to the public seven days a week.
The compact campus was missing a campus center, a place for the 1,000 students and faculty to gather for academic and social activities. The plans of the original building — constructed in 1912 for the piano manufacturer Aeolian — revealed the past existence of a two-story recital hall on the third floor. This space overlooking Bryant Park was reclaimed as a Student Commons, becoming the heart of the Center for Student Life and Learning on the second and third floors. It is surrounded by lounges, fitness room, game room, and seminar rooms.