Bronx Community College is blessed with an 1892 master plan by Stanford White for what was originally New York University's University Heights campus atop a bluff above the Harlem River in the Bronx. The ambitious plan included the grand domed Gould Memorial Library (1900) and the arcing open colonnade of the Hall of Fame (1912) at the head of a quadrangle framed by more restrained classroom buildings, many of which remained unrealized. Marcel Breuer created a second master plan for the campus in 1956 and completed a number of buildings on the campus in the 1960s. In 2006 we completed a new space plan for the campus, proposing a combination of historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and new construction.
The first building within the 2006 master plan, our 98,600-square-foot North Instructional Building and Library provides state-of-the-art classrooms and a new double-height library in a three-story structure that completes the north side of the College's main quadrangle. The south facade facing the quad is an elegant repetitive foil both to the exuberance of Gould Memorial Library and to the severity of Breuer's Meister Hall across the lawn. A recessed porch marks the entry while allowing the rhythm of pilasters to continue uninterrupted across the facade. A wing conceived as an annex responds to the lower scale of Havemeyer Hall across the quadrangle. Buff Roman brick and light gray cast-stone trim carry forward the palette of White's buildings. A granite rubble base at the lower level of the north facade expresses the change in grade as the site falls away toward the river.
On the ground floor, classrooms are organized along an east-west corridor that extends the axis of the Hall of Fame. A monumental stair climbs to the library above and captures spectacular views to Upper Manhattan across the river. The library features a double row of barrel vaults supported by slender columns inspired by Henri Labrouste's St. Genevieve Library in Paris. Faculty offices and a special law collection library are accommodated in the upper levels of the annex.
The North Instructional Building was entirely built with precast panels with thin brick or cast stone matching the surrounding architecture. Cornices and columns were completed with the use of Glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) due to very complex molds.
The building consists of 344 panels with thin brick or cast stone and 76 GFRC panels with the heaviest panel weighing in at around 22,226 Kg (49,000 lbs). Careful installation was critical to ensure that no bricks or cast stone pieces were damaged.
The North Instructional Building and Library is on track for LEED™ Silver certification.