NYU LMC Alumni Courtyard

New York, NY
2022 ASLA-NY Merit Award

The Alumni Courtyard is the center of the academic wing of the NYU Langone Medical Center campus. JPLA designed this courtyard as a plaza that is open and flexible, accommodating events, lectures, work sessions, casual dining and everyday campus life. The courtyard will serve the student cafe in Smilow, the newly renovated library in Medical Science Building West and the new Science Building which is home to a extensive cafeterias, convention areas and research laboratories.

The courtyard sits on top of the campus vivarium. There is very limited depth for soil below the paving. The design uses the grade change between the raised elevation of the new Science Building to create a central plinth with monumental sit steps on two sides. This allows depth for the central trees planted in a continuous plane of groundcover. Raised planting beds clad in blackened steel surround the edges of the courtyard, framing the central plaza. These areas are planted with a variety of forest floor understory plants and shaped with intimate niches with seating amidst the lush plantings.

The Courtyard, as well as much of the NYU Langone Campus, was flooded during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The design of the Alumni Courtyard incorporates rising flood gates and raised curbs at buildings to protect interior spaces. The courtyard plantings were selected for their resilience to tidal flooding, urban pollutants and tolerance to deep shade.

CLIENT: NYU Langone Medical Center Real Estate Development
COLLABORATORS: Ennead Architects