The New School to Consolidate Arts Programs

NEW YORK — New York’s renowned university, The New School, is strengthening its performing arts programs and capacity with an extensive renovation to its 105,000-square-foot Arnhold Building, located in Manhattan. The move will help consolidate The New School’s currently far-flung campus and bring several performing arts programs under one roof.

Arnhold Hall is home to the university’s jazz school and it will soon house the Mannes College of Music, currently located 70 blocks away in the city’s Upper West Side. Mannes will occupy roughly 39,500 square feet within the building and will use specific materials, colors and graphics to give it a more distinct architectural identity within the shared space. Mannes’ 300 students will enjoy new custom built classrooms, practice rooms and performance spaces all outfitted with state-of-the-art sound technology, as well as enhanced opportunities for collaboration with other New School divisions. As Mannes Prep students as young as four years of age will also be using the new facilities, spaces will be flexible and accommodate a variety of programs and learners.
The renovated facility will also become the new home of The New School for Drama, as well as a unique “glass box” theater on the ground level. This glass-encased venue will allow passersby to catch a glimpse of the performing arts action from the street.

Establishing these new classrooms and practice and performance spaces will require the first through fourth floors of the Arnhold Building to be largely gutted. The top floor will undergo an extensive renovation and upward expansion in the project’s second phase to accommodate an orchestra-sized practice room.

Deborah Berke Partners of New York will develop the building’s interior and furniture, fixtures and equipment program, and crafted the Arnhold Building master plan. Akustiks of South Norwalk, Conn., will serve as the acoustical engineer and Robert Silman Associates of Washington is the structural engineer.

“Everyone at The New School is revved up about the convergence of Mannes moving to Arnhold Hall, the current renovation and exciting future plans for the building, and the coming together of the three performing arts schools into one brand new division: The College of The Performing Arts,” said Richard Kessler, executive dean for performing arts at The New School speaking with DNAinfo New York on Feb. 25. “All of this will allow us to expand opportunities in world class performing arts education and performances, while partnering with the rest of The New School to engage the much broader community [more] than ever before.”

The total cost of renovations and an estimated completion date for the project have not yet been disclosed, though Mannes College of Music is expected to move into its new home by fall 2015.
Following the relocation, the existing Mannes College of Music building will be acquired by the private, PK-8 Manhattan Country School, which is currently based on the city’s Upper East Side. The move to the six-story, nearly 100-year-old building, as well as the subsequent renovation, will nearly double the school’s square footage.