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HomeWorksS.I. Newhouse CommunicationsCenter, Syracuse University

S.I. Newhouse Communications
Center, Syracuse University


This building, funded by S.I. Newhouse, owner of the largest newspaper empire in the United States, was to be the world’s most advanced communications center. It was designed as the focus of a future 3-building complex that would sculpturally rise from a shared central quadrangle. (The two other, much larger buildings were executed later by other architects).

To some degree, the design recalls Pei’s competition entry for Toronto City Hall – and more directly, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple that inspired it. The 3-story cruciform building is capped by a deep roof supported on recessed service cores in the four corners and cantilevered over the entire perimeter of the building. Precast window frames and balconies provide scale and direction, and announce the single most important space: the central 50′ x 68′ Dedication Hall, which rises from the entry level straight up to the skylight and fans out laterally into the wings.

Like many of Pei’s later institutional buildings, Newhouse is a sculptural icon, the tip of the iceberg as it were, with little indication that fully two-thirds of the 76,000-square-foot building is located out of view in the podium and lower level.

Newhouse Communications Center received a national Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1965 and in the following year, a Prestressed Concrete Institute Award.


Site plan for proposed Communications Center / Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Design Team: I.M. Pei, Design Partner; Pershing Wong, Design Architect
I. M. Pei & Associates