When the New School for Social Research opened its building at 66 W. 12th St. in January 1931, the auditorium astonished people. Not only did it dominate the ground floor of the building — people almost walked directly into the auditorium when entering the building — the curvy, lush interior contrasted sharply with the cool, linear facade. The interior architecture of the auditorium is reminiscent of art deco curvature, with beams circling the oval ceiling and meeting opposing curves around the stage, entrance, and vertical beams along the interior walls. This is reflected in the front hallway entrance to the auditorium, with curved walls weaving a path to the entrance doors.

In 1992, the auditorium and other parts of the first floor of the school were restored to the original design. The restoration still stands today, evident in the color of the interior walls, the red carpeting in the aisles, the black flecked linoleum floor below the chairs, and the re-upholstery on chairs, which are Joseph Urban’s original design. The restoration in 1992 was conducted by the architectural firm Prentice & Chan Ohlhausen and the auditorium was re-named the John L. Tishman Auditorium (a designation now given to the auditorium in the University Center). The building and the auditorium itself are historical landmarks. (Photographs below from the Joseph Urban Collection, Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library.)

Auditorium, Ground Floor, 66 W. 12th St.

Auditorium, Ground Floor, 66 W. 12th St. Courtesy of New School Libraries & Special Collections.

60100_ca_object_representations_media_4163_largeAuditorium rendering. The New School Photograph Collection. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive. Web. 23 Sep 2014.

27254_ca_object_representations_media_4173_largeMax Lerner [?] Lecturing in New School Auditorium. circa 1944. The New School Photograph Collection. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive. Web. 23 Sep 2014.

Lobby, 66 W. 12th St.

Lobby, 66W 12th St. Courtesy of New School Libraries & Special Collections

Drama Magazine, Scrapbook, New School Archives

Drama Magazine, Scrapbook, Courtesy of New School Archives & Special Collections

Auditorium, 66 W. 12th St.

Auditorium at 66W 12th. Source: newschool.edu, Web. 23 Sep 2014.