Illustration by Oscar Bray.

NYU Shanghai’s New Campus Reaches Critical Milestone

NYU Shanghai’s new campus design will accommodate 4,000 students. The project has been making strong progress toward its 2022 opening.

Apr 4, 2021

NYU Shanghai’s new campus in the Qiantan neighborhood of Pudong secured its final beam this week. Construction of the new project began just two years ago and is planned to be able to house 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students when it is completed in the summer of 2022.
Throughout this academic year, NYUSH has served as a hub for over two thousand Go Local students from NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi who were unable or unwilling to leave China. The Go Local Program has stretched the campus’s limited space thin and has forced the university to lease around 7,000 square meters of WeWork office space to accommodate these students.
NYUSH’s new campus will measure approximately 1,230,000 square feet and its new laboratory, research and athletic spaces will be expanded significantly. NYUNY’s Washington Square News recently interviewed current NYUSH students, some of which expressed concerns about the change in location away from the heart of Shanghai’s business district to an up-and-coming neighborhood. For veterans of the Global Network University, the move may be reminiscent of NYUAD’s relocation from Sama Tower to Saadiyat in 2014. In that time, Sama Tower’s immediate pedestrian access to the heart of the central business district was traded for a cohesive, self-sufficient campus.
Yaman Garg, NYUAD Class of 2022, studied away in Shanghai and recalls just how convenient the original campus’s central location was to exploring the city. “It was … pretty well-connected to the bus service, so if the metro didn’t work for you, you could just use that.” He also recalled the abundance of malls, restaurants and general cultural amenities within walking distance of the academic building.
Shanghai is a connected and cohesive city with respect to public transportation and the growing area around the Pudong campus has become accessible since the early 2000’s. In contrast, NYUNY is often described as having “no campus” with its lack of distinct borders separating it from the rest of lower Manhattan. The new campus actually might provide a middle ground for Shanghai’s campus – one that lays somewhere between the seclusion of Saadiyat Island and the openness of Greenwich Village.
Many students at NYUSH are very happy to see this and believe it is a very positive development for future students. “The new campus definitely has the student body’s best intentions in mind. The administration has been transparent about its structure,” shared Tyson Upshaw, NYUSH Class of 2021, who will graduate before the campus opens but is nonetheless excited for future classes who will experience it.
Bishka Zareen Chand, Class of 2020, shared Upshaw’s enthusiasm for the new campus. “I think it’s a really exciting development in NYU Shanghai’s journey, I’m so proud to see how much our young campus has progressed.” Chand added. “I definitely see myself visiting the new campus in the future and I hope they’ll place memories of the old building there too, because it’s such an important part of our history.”
The steady construction progress is even more impressive in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic that affected China earlier than anywhere else in the world. Work on the new campus grinded to a complete halt temporarily in January, but continued in April of 2020. This proved to be little more than a brief pause, with workers remaining on the job throughout the Spring Festival to lay 18,000 tons of steel beams in three months.
The next phase of construction involves pouring concrete floors, building wall masonry and the installation of an exterior glass wall. In around just 18 months, the state-of-the-art campus designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, “[will forge] connections between academic and local communities” and “[will translate] cultural values alongside programmatic needs.”
These words seem to echo the language used to describe NYUAD’s campus and its “three identities” of “Abu Dhabi, New York and the world” that it promotes while being “structured to promote interaction and foster community.”
Abhyudaya Tyagi contributed reporting.
Ethan Fulton is Columns Editor. Email him at
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