Brooklyn College West Quad

In 2001, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York commissioned Rafael Viñoly Architects to restore the vision of the campus’ 1937 master plan.  RVA’s design recreates the West Quad—which was formerly covered by the 1970s Plaza Building and Bedford Avenue Overpass—as a landscaped space, and provides offices for student services and athletic facilities in a new four-story, 65-foot-tall brick building along the western edge of the restored quad.  With the demolition of the overpass, street-level pedestrian circulation is reestablished between the East and West Quads, resulting in a single campus mall.  Rafael Viñoly describes the mall and restored West Quad as an outdoor “living room” for the campus, one that will be used throughout the year for studying and recreational activities.

The West Quad Building integrates two diverse programs: a double-height sunken volume houses the major athletic programs while a taller, slender rectangular volume facing the quad interweaves student services with smaller athletic facilities. To achieve the required floor area in such a small site, rows of offices cantilever out from this vertical volume. The transparent center of the building allows views from the quad to the athletic facilities out back.

Students enter the student-services volume through a double-height lobby, which looks over the NCAA-regulation pool and basketball court, two-court auxiliary gym, racquetball courts, and a fitness gym. On the second and third floors, student services (bursar, registrar, financial aid, and admissions) are flanked by two double-height physical education spaces for activities such as dance and volleyball. The fourth floor houses faculty offices and classrooms for the physical education department. Throughout the building, interior and exterior glazing establishes the visual connections that link the athletic and academic missions of the college. 


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