Building Design and Exhibitions

Contact Information
Contact Information

Building Design and Exhibitions provides aesthetic consultation and services throughout the Graduate Center’s campus and establishes and maintains building and interior design standards. This includes developing and implementing plans for interior design and managing exhibition spaces.

Capital Project Updates

Capital projects are long-term investments requiring relatively large sums of funding to improve or maintain a capital asset, such as a building. The funding typically comes from government entities, including the New York State Bonded projects, the New York City Council, and the Borough President’s office, and is specifically designated for such projects. There are strict guidelines in place for using these funds, which means capital funding cannot be applied to other opportunities, such as student support. It’s also important to note that while the Graduate Center identifies capital projects and secures the funding, once a project is funded we work in collaboration with CUNY’s Facility Planning, Construction and Management Office, which manages the execution of such projects, and subsequent agencies as needed.

In Progress

The continued safety of Graduate Center (GC) students, staff, faculty and visitors is one of our highest priorities.  To that end, the Graduate Center uses Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), a standard but critical technology in a comprehensive crime prevention program, to enhance personal safety, deter and investigate crime, and protect institutional property.

The Graduate Center's current CCTV system, which covers exterior exits, elevators, the first floor lobby and the James Gallery, is antiquated.  Given incidents of theft and other, even graver risks to safety and security, this system is also inadequate and is being updated this summer through capital project funding.  The new system upgrades existing cameras and adds new ones to floor exits above and below ground.  Shared space such as the Library, Proshansky Auditorium and the Dining Commons will also have cameras installed.

As in the past, video monitoring of all designated GC spaces will be judicious and conducted in a professional, ethical and legal manner consistent with New York State law, CUNY non-discrimination policies and higher education institutional practices.  Our CCTV policy specifically prohibits the monitoring of persons based solely on race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.  Nor will the GC monitor individuals or groups based solely on the exercise of their right to assemble in public and protest matters relating to the University, government or other issues.  Review of video footage is limited to authorized personnel.

The added camera locations and accompanying policies are designed to balance the safety and civil rights of our community. The Graduate Center and its Office of Public Safety take this important responsibility very seriously and will continue to demonstrate a commitment to both.  If you have any questions concerning this project, please contact John Flaherty, the Director of Public Safety at 212-817-7761 or To read the CCTV policies, click here.

Update – September 3, 2018

This project is substantially completed.  Remaining punch list items are being addressed.

The elevator machinery and computer control system will undergo a significant upgrade—ultimately yielding cost savings through a more energy-efficient fleet of elevators. For the next two years, two elevators at a time will be serviced, which means that four will always be available. The freight elevator will also be upgraded, so when it is out of service one of the passenger cars will be used for freight. While we know this will cause some inconveniences during busy times, it is necessary work.

Update — October 1, 2018

All mechanical work is complete on the six passenger elevators and the freight car. All elevators are back in full service. Punch list items are ongoing including replacement of the hallway call buttons, the direction indicators and the interior cab lighting. Elevators will be taken out of service one at a time to complete the punch list.

Update — February 10, 2018

On Saturday night, February 10, a crane will be lifting the two new motors for the Graduate Center passenger cars. The lift is scheduled to start at midnight and may go on until Sunday morning. The crane will be located on 5th Avenue. No one will be allowed on the 8th or 9th floor while the crane is in use. This is the third in a series of crane lifts for the elevator renovation project. The Freight Car and 3 elevators have been renovated and are back in full service.

Update — July 6, 2017

On Saturday night, July 15, a crane will be lifting the new motor for the Graduate Center freight car. The lift is scheduled to start at midnight and may go on until Sunday morning. The crane will be located on 34th Street. No one will be allowed on the 8th or 9th floor while the crane is in use. This is the second in a series of crane lifts for the elevator renovation project. This page will be updated when dates are confirmed.

Update — May 10, 2017

Elevator modernization work began on March 20, 2017. Some of the passenger elevators will periodically be out of service as work is done until April 2018. The freight elevator will be renovated over the summer, at the end of the academic year, and is scheduled to be back in service for the fall semester. The renovation will give the elevators a new mechanical system that is more energy-efficient system. Please allow for more time to travel between floors. We apologize for the temporary inconvenience.

Update — November 4, 2016

Starting in Mid-February 2017 our elevator machinery modernization project will begin. The first two passenger elevators to be repaired are elevator 1 & 6.  Elevator 1 is the first elevator on the left side of the lobby and elevator 6 is the last elevator on the right side. You should expect to see barriers on every floor in front of these elevator doors.  Also be prepared for it to take longer to get to your floor.  Please use the staircases whenever possible.  Some of the work will take place in the elevator lobby on the second floor. Other work will take place on the 9th floor elevator lobby. Once the work on these two elevators has been completed, the next two elevators will be taken out of service.  Look to this site for further progress updates.

The elevator machinery and computer control system will undergo a significant upgrade—ultimately yielding cost savings through a more energy-efficient fleet of elevators. The project is expected to take two years. It is planned that four elevators will be in service at all times. The freight elevator will also be upgraded. That work is scheduled to start this summer. When it is out of service one of the passenger cars will be used for freight. While we know this will cause some inconveniences during busy times, it is necessary work.

Update — October 15, 2018

The reimagining of the First Floor of the Library is compete. Floor art project has been completed and installed. Display areas for the “Object Library” have been installed. New tables and chairs have been delivered and installed. “Object Library” opens on October 16, 2018.

Update — Summer 2018 

Part of the ground floor of the Mina Rees Library – specifically, the space along Fifth Avenue and 34th Street – will be out of action for some period of time over the summer as we develop a more flexible use of the space, explore new flooring possibilities, and introduce the Object Library with a temporary display system, as per discussions through the last academic year and as was presented at the most recent DSC Plenary Meeting. While we make these changes, we will seek to minimize disruption to scholars by making more use of the two other levels of the library. 
The study spaces along Fifth Avenue and 34th Street will be inaccessible from 06/18 through 08/24 and will re-open on 08/27 to coincide with the new academic year. Throughout this time, services will be running as usual on all three floors, but it will not be possible to sit and study in the ground floor space fronting Fifth Avenue. Those seeking to sit and study will be directed to our dissertation room and spaces on the second floor and C-level, all of which will remain accessible as usual through the ground floor entrance.
The work involves exploratory floor investigation, electrical work, the removal of existing furniture and artworks, and the installation of new and existing furniture and artworks in preparation for AY 2018/19. 
There may be a complete library closure for a short period in August while flooring work encroaches on the ground floor access route, and in avoidance of exposure to dust or adhesive fumes. We will give advance notice of any such closure and will be working to keep it to an absolute minimum.
With this step, we seek to make our library space more inviting and more encouraging of creative thinking. We appreciate your patience as our staff work hard to complete all work during the summer. 


The GC received nearly $5 million to establish the CUNY Center for Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization as part of the CUNY Big Data Consortium. The architectural firm IKON5 has begun schematic design work, which is an important next step in realizing the goals of the project and positioning the GC as a leader in this field.

Update – September 28, 2018

Known as the 2020 Project, the 100% Construction Documents are completed. The project is expected to be bid early Fall and construction started in January 2019. The project will include interior renovations on the Concourse Level within the existing space currently occupied by the Library. Construction will include re-configuring some circulation routes and the addition of glass partitions to house multi-purpose spaces and accommodate new functions such as workforce training classrooms, software research labs, a visualization theater, meeting spaces and collaborative hubs within the space, and their associated furnishings and equipment such as large visualization displays.

We will continue to update you about projects that will yield energy savings for the GC.

Update – September 28, 2018

The three large cooling towers on the roof of the Graduate Center originally installed in 1999 will be replaced with new energy efficient Cooling Tower. Design ais completed. Schedules are being modified to assure that the Graduate Center is never without HVAC during the project. The project has been turned over to DASNY for filing, bidding and purchase of the towers. Work will commence as soon as possible.  

The number of restrooms on the first floor is being expanded and will include two all-gender restrooms, an important addition to one of our most active floors. For safety reasons, this work will require us to close the restrooms temporarily during construction. We will ensure that there is ample signage directing people to other restroom locations.

Update – September 28, 2018

1st Floor Bathroom Upgrades Construction Documents are 100% complete. Construction documents have been approved and the construction of the project has been transferred to DASNY for construction. Pending registration with the city Comptroller office, bidding will be in the winter of 2019. This project will provide additional restroom facilities on the first floor of the Graduate Center by combining the existing men's and women's restrooms into a larger women's restroom, and a new men's room will be created elsewhere on the floor as well as two single all gender restrooms. The consultant is filing the project with the Department of Buildings. Construction planned to start in January 2019.

  • Integrated Computer AV: Upgrade stand-alone audio visual equipment in classrooms and create connected Smart Rooms.
  • Upgrade Information Technology Systems: Upgrade Datacenter equipment and network switches.
  • IT Resources to Support Teaching & Learning: Create teaching and learning technology rich environments in targeted classrooms, seminar and presentation spaces to promote interactivity and collaboration in support of advanced teaching and research

We have been working on plans to renovate the ninth floor for some time, and envision a hybrid of opportunities including creation of classroom, seminar and meeting spaces, along with rooftop access, which will ultimately provide more space for the GC community and allow for additional space rental and revenue opportunities.  As plans get underway, we will need everyone to remain flexible with office space and be prepared for some space shifts in the next year. 

Update – September 28, 2018

Schematic design was completed. The Architectural Design will be completed during the winter of 2019. Bidding of the project will be in the spring of 2019. This project will reconstruct total square footage of approx. 5,447 sf on the 9th floor, which includes additional flexible conference, meeting, classrooms and office space. Included in the project is renovation on the 3rd and 1st floors to accommodate those offices dislocated by the 9th floor construction.


We are preparing to install digital screens in the Fifth Avenue windows to replace the banners. These screens will allow us to raise the visibility of the GC and showcase a variety of creative work to passersby.

Update — November 4, 2016

We have successfully installed a digital screen in the display window to the right of the Fifth Avenue entrance. We are now preparing to install a digital screen in the display window to the left of the Fifth Avenue entrance. These screens will allow us to raise the visibility of the GC and showcase a variety of creative work to passersby.

In 2017, Information Technology replaced the sound system in the Elebash Recital Hall. 

Contact Us

Ray Ring

Facilities Planning Dir, Building Design and Exhibitions

Christopher Lowery

Assistant to the Director, Building Design and Exhibitions