Vera List Courtyard
The Vera List Courtyard provides much-needed outdoor space for students at the New School in Manhattan. Set in a small transitional space linking two buildings with entrances at different elevations, the landscape enables and dignifies the simple acts of sitting, gathering, and walking from one level to another, while also providing space for larger events.
A series of three iconic sitting elements made from different materials by artist Martin Puryear interacts with the forms of the courtyard. The sculptural benches are in conversation with the ephemeral elements of the landscape, playing off the brilliance of the red maples’ fall color, the sound of bamboo rustling in the breeze, and fallen leaves floating in the pool of water.
A spiral ramp provides wheelchair access between levels and encircles a sculpted landform dense with red maples and a groundcover of pygmy bamboo.
The courtyard’s trees were planted as small saplings, allowing their growth to evolve in tandem with the space over time. As the closely spaced saplings grow and densify, a planned thinning mimics the natural process of forest succession. Situated at the top of the curvilinear ramp, an oval terrace serves as a stage for lectures, small concerts, and academic ceremonies.