Street Seats

The New School + NYC DOT


On the corner of New York City’s 13th Street and 5th Avenue, hundreds of people use the sidewalk adjacent to The New School University Center every day. For a university in Manhattan, “campus” is a loose term that defines the parts of the city traversed by its students.
Union Square Park—a magnet of public life—is a proximate and popular space for students and faculty to relax outside, though there is a noticeable lack of activities taking place there. Aside from the park, public seating is otherwise nonexistent in these highly trafficked parts of Manhattan.

To approach this challenge, the city’s Department of Transportation’s (DOT) created a parklet initiative: Street Seats.

This semester, twelve fellow students and I formed an interdisciplinary team to design, construct, and install a parklet in little more than three months. Whereas last year’s Street Seats was twenty five feet long, this year’s was approved for forty feet. With more time and space allowed, our group had the ability to develop a more complex design.
Installed at the beginning of May, the parklet will bring together the University community and the public for the spring and summer months. With a generous amount of planters and movable seating, this public seating area will be an evolving space over it’s seven month lifespan and will set a precedent for next year’s design.

construction timelapse:

The design uses the provided 40ft x 6ft space along the curb of 13th Street where we incorporate an area to relax, converse, and interact with the city. The components of the space will be constructed in-house then installed on site on April 20th, coinciding with the New School’s Earth Week.

The 2016 Street Seats program is sponsored by the NYC Department of Transportation and The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center.

Plan diagrams

Tube connection diagram

Site renderings