The campus courtyard at NYU Shanghai harmoniously combines Western cloister-inspired architecture with the tranquil ambiance of a traditional Chinese scholars’ garden. Designed to maximize natural light throughout the year, it serves as a serene gathering place bathed in sunlight filtering through lush greenery.

This central oasis facilitates a range of activities from casual gatherings to cultural events, fostering a sense of community among students, faculty, and visitors. Its thoughtful landscaping and open layout create an inviting environment for relaxation, study, and reflection, enhancing the university experience with a blend of global and local influences.


a high shot of the NYU Shanghai campus, centering the courtyard
two students chat in the NYU Shanghai courtyard
Four students have a conversation over their laptops in the NYUSH courtyard
NYU Shanghai courtyard, ground view
A student types at their computer on the campus courtyard
A student stands near a net, playing a game in the NYUSH courtyard

“Every university should have a quadrangle or a garden at the heart. The courtyard immediately created four sides, four buildings, and then we opened those four buildings to create these four gateways. The courtyard building is the western idea of a cloister, the garden in the middle is simultaneously the quad as well as the eastern garden, and the gateways are from the Chinese scholars’ villas that you see a lot in places like Hangzhou. We naturally find the synergies of how the gateways can be representative of New York (the NYU arch) but also NYU in Shanghai. ”

Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) Design Partner Elie Gamburg