Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
New York Times Building

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Institution Name: Pace University
Original/Historic Place Name: New York Times Building
Location on Campus: 41 Park Row
Date(s) of Construction:
1888-1889original construction Post, George B.
1903-1905expansion Maynicke, Robert
Designer: George B. Post; Robert Maynicke
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Romanesque revival (Glossary)
Significance: history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation:
Walls: granite; limestone
Roof:
 
Function:
1888-1904other (New York Times Building)
1951-present (2006)faculty offices
1951-present (2006)classrooms
 

Narrative:
Built in 1858 for the New York Times, the building had been expanded over the years from five to sixteen floors. By purchasing 41 Park Row, the college acquired 110,000 square feet of usable floor space, compared with the 61,000 square feet it occupied at the time of purchase. Speaking to an overflow crowd at the 1951 Pace commencement in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, chairman of the board Charles T. Bryan claimed that the acquisition of the former newspaper building "would permit the college to add a number of desirable features that are not now practicable." Among the improvements envisioned by the trustees were an auditorium, cafeteria, sizable library, science laboratories, and gymnasium. Mr. Bryan added: "Space will be available for increased student activities. Space will be available for alumni affairs to serve the more than 70,000 former students."

Alumni were especially enthusiastic about the new building. The Pace Alumni Magazine reported in the fall of 1951 that the renovations were already underway, and that 50 classrooms, rather than the 35 occupied by the college in its rented quarters, would be available. Plans for the library, which was to occupy two entire floors, included shelf space for 50,000 books and one seat for every three students. As for recreational facilities, the magazine declared: "Facilities in the sub-basement will include regulation size bowling alleys, a large swimming pool, a full-size handball court, and a gymnasium." The plans for the recreational facilities turned out to be a bit too ambitious, but the renovations needed for strictly academic pursuits were completed.


From the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission's report:

"Designed by George B. Post, one of the period's most celebrated architect-engineers, this impressive Romanesque Revival skyscraper replaced an earlier New York Times building on the corner site while maintaining the existing floor framing so that newspaper operations could continue during construction. Originally 12 stories tall, the rusticated granite and limestone elevations are articulated through a series of impressive multistory arcades. King's Handbook of New York (1892) described the building as 'the Times expressed in stone.' When the owner, Adolph Ochs, decided to relocate to Times Square in 1904, the building was sold and 4 stories were added in a complementary style. Pace University acquired the building in 1951.

"Post, the country's pre-eminent architect-engineer, achieved a major technological feat with this commission which required him to incorporate the floor framing from the Times's five-story 1857 building so newspaper operations could continue on site while the new building was under construction. The Times Building, Post's first in the Richardsonian Romanesque idiom, was considered 'a masterpiece of the Romanesque style.' Faced with rusticated Indiana limestone blocks above a gray Maine granite base, the facades are articulate in a complex composition featuring a series of impressive arcades that emphasize the verticality of the building and horizontal moldings that call attention to the underlying structure. The carefully-scaled details include compound colonnettes, roll moldings, miniature balustrades, foliate reliefs, gargoyles and a mansard with gable dormers."
 

References:

Dolkart, Andrew S., and Matthew A Postal. Guide to New York City Landmarks. Third ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2004.

Weigold, Marilyn E. Opportunitas: The History of Pace University. New York: Pace University Press; Lanham, MD: University Publishing Association, 1991.

 

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