Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects design reimagined Jewish Theological Seminary campus

April 26, 2022 - Design / Build



Manhattan, NY The Jewish Theological Seminary’s (JTS) reimagined campus is designed to support inspired teaching and world-class scholarship. With the addition of a new library, residence hall, auditorium, and atrium for students, staff, and visitors, the campus reflects JTS’s highest values of Jewish living and learning, respect and dignity for all people, community, accessibility, and environmental sustainability.

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects have reimagined the historic Morningside Heights campus with new open, light-filled, interconnected, outward-facing architecture. The project team included Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects (landscape architecture), Fisher Marantz Stone (lighting designer), and Robert Silman Associates (structural engineer).

Highlights of the new campus include:

  • A new library with exhibition gallery and climate-controlled rare books room.
  • An upgraded residence hall with communal gathering spaces and kosher kitchens, including a new student lounge.
  • An undergraduate student-run “Moadon” space bathed in light and open to outdoors allows students to meet, host events and connect to all elements of the campus.
  • An upgraded 200-seat auditorium/performance space designed to host performances and music, equipped with an assistive listening system, increased capacity for high-quality video streaming, and ramps leading up to several entrances.

The sky-lit centrally-located atrium welcomes visitors, students and faculty and provides flexible forum space to sit, relax, and orient themselves to the other elements of the campus. The 7,000 s/f space can be used for lectures, religious services, and graduation overlooking the central garden.

An outdoor garden/courtyard that serves as an outdoor space for people to enjoy their meals outside when weather permits. The platform on which the tables and chairs sit is designed to accommodate the JTS sukkah during the holiday.

The new campus will emphasize accessibility. Some key features include accessible elevators and bathrooms, ADA-compliant dorm rooms, wheelchair spaces in the auditorium, and full wheelchair accessibility to the courtyard, atrium, library, seminar rooms, and performance/conference spaces.

Some of the many green design features of the campus include a building designed for excellent thermal performance, economizers for air handling systems, high-efficiency LED lighting, and three green spaces on the rooftop.

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