Crooked Columns in Union Square Building Construction Are No Mistake

The building in Union Square is purposely constructed with slightly crooked columns

A new building being constructed in Union Square has triggered concerns among neighbors and passersby who think the structure looks crooked, but officials say it's all part of the design.

The building going up on Fifth Avenue and 14th Street will eventually become the new home of the New School's University Center, housing a dormitory, cafeteria and auditorium.

But as it's being constructed, some of the columns holding up the concrete floors don't appear straight.

"It looks like something maybe went awry," said Heather Raydon as she walked by the site.

"You stare and look, and one column looks wrong. Then you look at another column and you say, 'That's not right, either!'" said Scott Masterson, who works in a building across the street. "You begin to ask yourself, maybe someone made a mistake?"

But it's no mistake, according to the dean at Parsons' New School for Design, which is part of The New School. Instead, it's an engineering achievement.

"It's the most efficient way to carry all of the different structural loads of the building from the top of the foundation," said Joel Towers. 

The Department of Buildings said it has received calls from residents wondering if the building were being constructed safely but assure the public there are no safety issues or concerns with the project.

The building should be fully operational by January 2014. 

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