Through participation in a prestigious international challenge, three Pace students envisioned a future to improve the infrastructure surrounding pedestrian safety at New York City intersections.
People want to be in attractive spaces. They want to be in compelling spaces. They want to be in spaces that honor their place in a community. They want to be in spaces that represent a significant investment in the work they’re doing inside those walls.
“Universities, like any enterprise, at the end of the day are either growing and evolving or shrinking. And Pace is growing and evolving; it's a big commitment,” surmises Jonathan Hill, DPS, Dean of the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. “Pace is going to be at the top of the game for an urban university in terms of how we use space. We have designed an amazing launchpad for our students and faculty and staff to use New York City as the amazing campus environment that it is.”
With the impending opening of our new modern, sustainable, and welcoming campus building at 15 Beekman and the soon-to-start renovations of One Pace Plaza East, Pace has big plans for downtown.
Simply put: Pace is building.
15 Beekman: At the corner of opportunity and visibility
New library? Check.
New dining hall? Check.
New classrooms and student spaces? Check and check.
Our favorite feature: the cafe in the lobby.
This fall, Pace will open its newest building, 15 Beekman, a 26-story mixed use vertical learning hub on the corner of Beekman and Nassau streets. This new addition to Pace’s NYC Campus will be home to classrooms, student life spaces, the main dining hall, first-year student housing, administrative and faculty offices, the Birnbaum Library, and the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.
“15 Beekman will provide a ‘fresh face’ for Pace University—a state-of-the-art facility that combines living and learning. The building establishes a strong public presence and affords access to views and natural light throughout, so it will be an experience for all who use it,” explains Ibi Yolas ’97, vice president for University Campus Planning and Facilities. “I am always amazed how quickly these spaces get inhabited and put into full use. I think the lobby area with several different seating arrangements, a café, the interconnecting staircase, and the sense of the street-level bustle will create a dynamic space that will be exciting not only to the Pace Community but to passersby.”
While creating new space for members of the Pace Community was a necessity, the new building is more than just amazing architecture and swaths of natural light and cityscapes—it puts the academic experience at the fore. As a shining example of Pace’s Strategic Plan made tangible, this isn’t fluff remodeling, but rather a concerted effort to drive home Pace’s dedication to experiential learning.
“One of our big priorities in the Strategic Plan is to really emphasize experiential education and to be at the forefront of what people can do outside of the classroom while they're earning their education at Pace,” says Vice President for Strategy and Partnerships Jean Gallagher. “Learning, all types of learning, doesn’t just happen in the classroom and the new spaces are really bringing that to life with new laboratories and learning spaces, especially for Seidenberg.”
One of our big priorities in the Strategic Plan is to really emphasize experiential education and to be at the forefront of what people can do outside of the classroom while they're earning their education at Pace.
There’s immersive learning, and then there’s immersive learning the Seidenberg way. Students and faculty of Seidenberg thrive on collaborative exploration of the world around them, through advancements in cybersecurity, design and tech, and much more. Seidenberg’s new contiguous, three-floor home at 15 Beekman is going to support and advance the work done by their community.
“Physical space has such an impact on the way people learn. If you shut them up in a dark room, it's going to impact their ability to be open to what's being taught and be open to interacting with their faculty and their fellow students,” asserts Seidenberg Dean Jonathan Hill, DPS. “We're students of design thinking and being thoughtful and intentional in how you lay out a space to be together. People talk about space design, they talk about Feng Shui, but ultimately it all comes together in creating a space that is not just pleasant to be in, but also turns on all the switches—all the receptors—so that you're really ready to listen and learn and interact.”
“This is really an academic investment, making our programs to be as cutting edge and up-to-date as possible,” says Gallagher. “And more than that, it's an investment in our faculty and staff to give them the kind of places so they can do their best work. This constantly rethinking and updating and refreshing our spaces is just really critical for Pace to maintain a competitive advantage in what is an extraordinarily competitive market.”
People talk about space design, they talk about Feng Shui, but ultimately it all comes together in creating a space that is not just pleasant to be in, but also turns on all the switches—all the receptors—so that you're really ready to listen and learn and interact.
That sentiment is echoed by Student Government Association Executive President Aman Islam ’24. “Seidenberg is one of the hottest schools here at Pace and I am so glad they are getting to move into, what looks to be, a gorgeous and innovative space on our campus,” he says. “I am also extremely impressed with the design of the building, allowing for academics to be at the forefront of its use as the bottom half of the building while still ensuring epic views for all of our residential students.”
Topping out 15 Beekman will be a 12-story residential tower primarily dedicated to first-year student housing, complete with a total of 484 beds, a common fitness center, meeting and dining commons, and an independent residential entrance. This new residential space will temporarily take the place of Maria’s Tower, the soaring (but sorely outdated) space at One Pace Plaza East.
“The residence hall at 15 Beekman will primarily feature suite-style living, wherein most suites have between 7 and 10 students in mostly double and triple rooms, surrounding a shared common space,” explains University Director of Housing Operations and Assistant Dean for Students Patrick Roger Gordon. “This will give our NYC students the opportunity to develop small cohorts of friends within their suite, while also being part of a floor, a building, a community.”
One Pace Plaza East: A Major Pacelift
Also on the horizon is a new downtown destination, not just for the Pace Community, but for FiDi as a whole. In late 2022, the University announced plans to transform One Pace Plaza East to include new academic spaces, a modern upgrade to Maria’s Tower, and a new state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center that will serve its performing and creative arts programs and act as a central gathering space for our community and our neighborhood. This spring, the University announced even bigger news—the creation of the Sands College of Performing Arts, named in recognition of a $25 million gift from Pamela and Rob Sands, JD ’84.
“We are becoming the premiere school for performing arts in New York City. Our programs and faculty have always attracted top students and collaborators, but the state-of-the-art facility will make us a leader in advancing the field of performing arts,” says Jennifer Holmes, PhD, executive director of the new Sands College. “The new facilities will create more opportunities for innovation, experimentation, and interdisciplinary collaboration, plus the naming of the Sands College will give us stronger brand recognition nationally and internationally.”
We are becoming the premiere school for performing arts in New York City. Our programs and faculty have always attracted top students and collaborators, but the state-of-the-art facility will make us a leader in advancing the field of performing arts.
Reconstruction of the lower floors of One Pace Plaza East, will create an inviting and modern building with classroom and creative arts spaces, collaboration spaces, and a Performing Arts Center that will include a proscenium theater to replace the Schimmel Center plus other theater and support spaces. This provides the up-to-date instructional, creative, and performance spaces that a robust Pace experience requires, and it keeps our large gathering space—used by the entire University and the broader community—at the center of our campus.
“Pace, as an institution, is very outcome-focused; we want students to be learning in environments that are like their work environments are going to be. You can't really put someone in a 50-year-old classroom with a chalkboard at the front and expect them to go on to excel in some really high-tech professional environments,” explains Gallagher. “We want to give our students the space and tools they’ll need to envision themselves where they want to be after graduation.”
“These changes and physical improvements expand possibilities for creativity and innovation for our faculty, guest artists, and students,” Holmes says, noting that the renovation of One Pace Plaza East will create new opportunities for immersive theater, student-led productions, and creative experimentation. “We want spaces that inspire artists to create, the possibilities are endless and the flexibility in these spaces is an important aspect of our planning.”
Building on the previous reimagining of the West side of One Pace Plaza, work that was completed in 2018, is this new vision to create a more connected campus community. With the addition of 15 Beekman to Pace’s footprint downtown and the overhaul of One Pace Plaza East, Pace will in a sense be bringing our community closer together.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing much more of a campus feel, even though we're in the center of the city, than we have previously,” Gallagher says. “And that's been a long-held strategic ambition of ours on the Lower Manhattan campus. And to see it really finally coming to fruition is super exciting.”
One of the key components to re-envisioning a university space is not just the way a building is constructed, but accounting for the ways in which it will be used, really used, by the people who inhabit it. “Our team is very focused on creating better connectivity between the East and West sides of One Pace Plaza to improve circulation, wayfinding, and accessibility,” adds Yolas. “We’re keeping in mind how visitors and the outside public may use our facilities and how we may separate some of the functions to create more of a ‘public-private’ divide.”
Meeting the Neighbors
These renovations, expansions, revitalizations…they’re wonderful for the Pace Community, but even more importantly, we want the changing shape of campus to be wonderful for our neighbors downtown.
“A university should be a community resource. We want to be seen as that by employers, other businesses in the community, and also by people who live here,” asserts Gallagher. “We want our downtown neighbors to know that Pace does events, we do have an art gallery, we do offer performances.”
These changes on campus position us to be kind of a partner-of-choice in the neighborhood, she says, noting that there is the continued expectation that people will come to Pace because they know not only do we have great spaces where we can host great events, but we're able to accommodate them. In essence, not only will the physical changes to campus strengthen this revenue source for Pace, but also serve as a place for community engagement and pride.
For me, the most exciting part of Pace’s transformation is seeing how Pace is growing on a national scale. Pace is becoming a household name and we honestly deserve the recognition!
“For me, the most exciting part of Pace’s transformation is seeing how Pace is growing on a national scale. Pace is becoming a household name and we honestly deserve the recognition!” says Islam. “Pace is such a bold and dynamic community, and as we grow, more and more people will be able to see, and experience it.”
Yolas agrees with the sentiment, saying, “I believe the investment we are making in our campus is a clear indication of our commitment to improve not only the Pace Community experience, but also the experience of the wider community, our neighbors, and Downtown New York City. I firmly believe we can be the leading destination for the arts in downtown.”
See the Progress
While 15 Beekman will be opening this fall, One Pace Plaza East is still in the works. Stay connected with progress, updates, renderings and so much more.