New York University's Abu Dhabi Institute, located in a historic townhouse on Washington Square Park, provides an academic and cultural portal to the new NYU campus in the UAE. The design focused on creating large, flexible academic and community spaces supplemented by private offices. The spaces include a large event and gallery space, a "connection center" for students to interact with students in Abu Dhabi via video conference, and flexible meeting spaces. The project was designed to serve diverse user groups from permanent administrative personnel, to visiting professors, students and community visitors.

Material and color palettes were inspired by the culture and desert environment in Abu Dhabi, and the latest technologies were deployed to ensure optimal long distance connections and conferencing. Because programming was developed “from scratch” for an academic program still in development, the design of the spaces have a built-in, inherent flexibility; as the program matures, the interiors can adapt easily to new uses.

Photography: ©Frank Oudeman