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4 J. Legal Educ. 265 (1951-1952)
Planning and Building Arthur T. Vanderbilt Hall

handle is hein.journals/jled4 and id is 275 raw text is: PLANNING      AND    BUILDING
ARTHUR T. VANDERBILT HALL
RuSSELL D. NILES *
T HIS is a candid memorandum to all deans and members of faculty
committees who are planning to build a new building or to remodel
an old one. We tried to benefit by the successes and failures of our pred-
ecessors and we should like to report our experience for the considera-
tion of others.
Some parts of our story are so peculiar to Washington Square that
they can have no possible utility to others. In a sense our story starts
early in the century when Mr. Amos F. Eno left New York University
$250,000 and left Columbia a block on the south side of Washington
Square. Some of us have thought that the old gentleman intended to
make his gifts the other way around because it is a little difficult to know
what Columbia would need with a block of old tenement buildings on
Washington Square. At any rate in 1948 New York University bought
the block from Columbia for a million dollars and then our troubles be-
gan. In the first place the title was good but not marketable and so our
first delay came while title was being quieted. Secondly, the block was
occupied by 160 tenants. They claimed to be artists, but they sounded
like professional publicists. While all claimed that they needed strong
north light, it is difficult to see why some of them wanted north light or,
indeed, any light at all. Our second delay came in relocating all of these
tenants. If our building is well-designed it is because we had so much
time to study and restudy our plans while we were raising funds for the
building, buying the land, clearing the title, and relocating our much
publicized tenantry.
PROBLEM OF THE MASTER PLAN
The first problem in designing a law school building is of course to
select a type of architecture. In this our hand was forced, but we are
not sorry that it was. Since the famous old buildings on the north of
Washington Square are of Georgian colonial design, it was both appro-
priate and expedient to conform to the tradition. None of us had a
preference for Gothic architecture because of the difficulty of obtaining
• Dean, New York University School of Law.
265

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