Curtain Up on Kingsborough Village;
Brooklyn Quad Waiting in the Wings

When CUNY Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning, Construction and Management, Emma Macari, was asked to discuss her current projects this September 11, she admitted being distracted by thoughts of so much destruction. Her spirits noticeably improved, however, when she turned her attention to two capital projects that have occupied her office for the last several years.

 
Vice Chancellor Emma Macari

Kingsborough Community College’s embrace of its Brighton Beach/Sheepshead Bay neighbors has just become even wider with the opening of its new Academic Village Building. The 40,000 square foot building will accommodate offices for such community-related programs as continuing education, “College Now” for high school students, “My-Turn” for older adults, and outreach programs like, for example, a distance learning center. The building, which occupies some former Coast Guard land given to Kingsborough to permit its growth, will also contain 5,500 square feet of instructional space.

Macari is delighted that this first installment of the KCC Master Plan, which was introduced by the late President Leon M. Goldstein in 1995, is now open for service. The building, which cost $24 million and was designed by the architectural firms of Gruzen Samton and Davis Brody Bond, is designed to comply with agreements that this former federal excess property will have no structure exceeding two stories, in keeping with the style of the two-story brick row houses that previously stood on the 4.75-acre tract.

Inaugural ceremonies for the Academic Village Building were to take place on October 24, with Senator Charles Schumer the scheduled keynote speaker.

 
At right, Kingsborough Community College’s newly- occupied Academic Village; below, a rendering of Brooklyn College’s West Quad Building.

Macari is even more enthusiastic about the prospect of a new physical education and student services complex at Brooklyn College, known as the West Quad. For it will not only require the demolition of a famous campus eyesore, the Plaza Building, which Macari likes to describe as “a two-story basement.” It will also recover the spirit of the classic 1937 Master Plan, by creating a strongly geometrical quadrangle that was originally envisioned by planners.

Designs are in place for this $97 million, 142,000-square-foot project; construction begins in 2004 and occupancy is planned for 2007. The architect is Rafael Viñoly, well known within CUNY for his sports complex at Lehman College, which opened in 1994.

The West Quad Building will be four stories and has been designed to respect its immediate neighbors, James and Roosevelt Halls. The lawn these three buildings face, says Viñoly, “will serve as the outdoor ‘living room’ of the campus.” The quad will also complement the quad across Bedford Avenue to the east.

Macari is particularly pleased that the student services space (offering bursar, enrollment, financial aid, and other offices), known as the Oasis, will be so generously windowed and open to the extensive green space of the new quad. From the Oasis, spectators can go to watch athletic events in the NCAA competition pool, and the NCAA basketball court. These spaces will be open to both students and residents of the surrounding community. The main exterior material is brick; Macari says considerable effort was made to match the brick color to that of the 1937 Master Plan buildings.

 

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