Aluminum As Art And Safety – At The Same Time

2017-01-26T23:37:31+00:00August 24th, 2012|

Here’s one unconventional use of aluminum for you – New York University’s famous Elmer Holmes Bobst Library atrium had a recent addition of special aluminum screens to its 150-foot-high staircases and surrounding balconies. Designed and installed by noted architect Joel Sanders, the aluminum screens were created based on an inspiration from old-school computer graphics. The result is a stunning look that blends the shine of golden sheets while also looking pixelated.

Of course, their visual appeal hides their true purpose: to save lives.

As a 150-foot-high structure with a large open space, the unthinkable has happened in the course of the Bobst Library’s history. In the past decade, several students have used the library’s large height to commit suicide. The new aluminum screens act as a barrier to prevent access for suicide jumpers.

“You really don’t lose the visual qualities of the original atrium,” says Andrew T. Repoli, a director of construction management at New York University. “This is almost like a beautiful piece of lace that’s been stretched taut against the balcony slabs.”

For more on NYU’s innovative new use of aluminum, visit the City Room Blog at the New York Times.