Honor - SCUP Excellence in Planning for a New Campus

New York University Shanghai

New York University Shanghai
New York University Shanghai - New York University Shanghai
Jury Comments
“. . . program elements thoughtfully arranged in a stacking form with gateways on each side is inspired . . . sense of place and integration with the city as passage . . . buildings and courtyard have a human scale to them and appear evocative of China . . . nicely presented . . .”


    • Site – 165,900 sq ft; Building – 1.2 million gsf / 777,700 asf
    • LEED Silver and China Two Star System
    • The campus will be home to 2,000 undergraduates, and 500 graduates and MBA students.
    • Because local zoning limits above-grade area to 69,400 square meters, spaces are selectively located below grade and natural light is provided wherever possible.
    • As a ring of collaborative spaces, the campus allows users to connect with one another by sharing views across the courtyard, through atria from floor to floor, or meet in flexible circulation spaces.
    • All departments are linked to promote interaction and avoid silos typical in most universities.
    • Stairs are prioritized to link levels and to enable greater moments of connection between users.
    • Fundamental ideas of Western and Chinese academic landscapes are united into a cohesive whole.


NYU Shanghai is a cosmopolitan environment meant to introduce students to a greater variety of academic and cultural possibilities. The campus eschews the simple containing of specialists into silos of knowledge. Instead it creates an open and flexible armature for the generation of insights and sharing of ideas. As such, the campus can support innovative ways of teaching, world-class research, and a commitment to public service in order to cultivate globally minded citizens. The design of the campus reflects the cultural duality of the student body, which is 50% Chinese and 50% global. As such, the campus must play two roles. For international students it is a gateway to China. For Chinese students, it is a gateway to the world. (Both Chinese and Western architectural traditions make frequent use of gateway arches.)

The plan calls for the campus at ground level to feature four buildings arranged in a pinwheel so that gateway arches face north, south, east, and west (as students are brought from the four corners of the world). But as the buildings go up, they each cantilever so that the top five floors are united into a single building. Symbolically, this unification reflects NYU’s desire to unify their members into a single intellectual community across both national and disciplinary lines. Operationally, it reflects NYU’s desire to prevent academic disciplines from becoming balkanized.

A uniquely integrated planning process involved the translation of cultural values as well as program, schedule, and budget. Through dialog with both Eastern and Western stakeholders and experts, a number of distinctive Sino-American criteria were addressed: an academic program that will meet accreditation of both a US (NYU) and a Chinese university, satisfy both US and Chinese building codes, and meet two environmental criteria, LEED Silver and China Two Star.

Project Team

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; also SIADR; ECADI; VDA; Longman Lindsey; Jacobs