Project FAQ

Sunday Supper at I-House
I-House student-residents together for “Sunday Supper”

Why is I-House undertaking this project?

The mission of International House is to provide postgraduates from over 100 countries an experience designed to broaden residents’ horizons and instill core values of respect, empathy and moral courage. More than just graduate student housing, I-House applies the model of “learning through living” to achieve this vision.

As we approach our centennial in 2024, I-House is working to modernize our facilities for the 21st Century. These changes will help us to better serve students and staff, incorporate needed technology, optimize accessibility, and add more flexible spaces that allow for the organic social interaction central to the I-House experience.

Who will be designing and building the project?

This project, which represents I-House’s first major new construction since its existing facilities were built in 1924, is being designed by the firm of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, renowned for its deep ties to New York City and respect for history and community.

The project will be built by the construction firm of Pavarini McGovern, one of NYC’s premier providers of construction management for new buildings and renewal projects. Its team of expert builders is dedicated to the construction of enduring, high-quality buildings.

What will the project achieve?

The new addition will replace the single-story, windowless parking garage at the center of the campus with a new residence hall and student activities building on Claremont Avenue. This smaller, contextual eight-story building will provide connectivity between our existing thirteen-story South Building at 155 Claremont Avenue/500 Riverside Drive and twelve-story North Building at 520-524 Riverside Drive. In addition to improving functionality, new landscaping at the street and along the exterior façade will beautify the streetscape.

Clad in variegated buff brick and cast stone trim, characteristic of our predominantly residential neighborhood, the building’s windows will continue the rhythm of the adjacent South Building. It will include resident gathering space on the first floor and resident rooms on the second through eighth floors. A student commons area called The Hub will provide a social focus to the campus, clarifying patterns of circulation and opening up to an interior courtyard. To see renderings of the new building, please click here.

Designed according to environmental best practices, the building will contain elements that contribute to energy efficiency and sustainability in connection with our landscape plan and green roof features.

How will the project enhance the community?

The new addition will bring a number of benefits to the community. A redesigned entrance at 171 Claremont Avenue and the addition of new exterior and streetscape landscaping will improve aesthetics along Claremont Avenue for area residents, pedestrians and passersby. The project also will improve I-House’s operational capacity in areas such as garbage removal, allowing for more efficient interior storage prior to same-day street pickup. As well, new trees will be added, as feasible, on Claremont Avenue or the most proximate location possible (e.g., Sakura Park or Riverside Drive).

How many new residents will the project be adding?

All in all, the project will add 124 resident rooms to the existing 681 for a total of 805, and our student population is projected to increase from the current 701 to approximately 825.

How tall is the new building and how does the height conform to existing zoning?

Our new building is just under 85 feet, in compliance with existing zoning, which sets a maximum height of 85 feet along the Claremont Avenue street wall.

How does new building height compare to I-House’s existing buildings?

The new 8-story building will be smaller and have fewer stories than both the 13-story South Building and the 12-story North Building.

Is I-House selling any air rights to facilitate this project?

There is no sale or transfer of air rights in connection with this project.

What government approvals are required for this project?

The project requires approval from the Department of Buildings. I-House will not be seeking a zoning variance, special permit, or other discretionary government action.

What is the project cost and how is the new building being financed?

The approximate cost of the project is $40M. I-House is participating in the BUILD NYC program, which provides tax-exempt and taxable bond financing to 501(c)3 organizations.

When is construction of the new building planned to begin, and how long will it take to complete?

We anticipate completing this project in approximately 2 years, with a commencement targeted in summer 2020 and concluding in summer 2022.

How will this project affect residents living at I-House?

I-House will remain fully operational during the project and we will continue to offer robust programming for our diverse community of student-residents. We will send regular project updates to our residents through the I-House email system, in addition to holding meetings for residents and staff to provide information and answer any questions.

Is the work being done at I-House right now, involving a sidewalk bridge, part of the new building project?

No. I-House recently finished Local Law 11 work at the North building and is now doing LL11 work at I-House South. There is a sidewalk bridge at I-House South currently, which will remain in place until work is scheduled to be completed in spring 2020.

Will any trees be added or removed as part of this project?

There are two trees in front of I-House North which will be protected but may need to be temporarily removed and/or replaced as part of the pavement plan design. We will keep the community apprised.

However, a total of 5 new trees will be added as part of this project. To the greatest extent feasible, we will seek to add trees to the street along Claremont. Otherwise, we will explore the most proximate offsite locations possible.

What will happen to the existing parking garage?

The I-House parking garage will be offline for the duration of construction. The new building is being designed to serve the mission of the organization, and as such, its reduced parking capacity will be limited to staff and maintenance vehicles. We are in the process of reaching out to all current parkers to assist in finding alternative accommodations in the several nearby garages in the community.

Will the public have access to new I-House facilities?

I-House will remain a student residence, however, members of the public will continue to have access and utilize our facilities through attendance and participation in I-House’s regular series of programmatic events that we produce and host throughout the year.

How will you be notifying the community about construction?

Regarding construction, we are committed to a robust and proactive program of meaningful engagement with our neighbors around our planned addition. In addition to monitoring this site for regular project updates, we ask that neighbors sign up for regular updates on our Contact page, through which the team can also be contacted with any questions and concerns.

Once construction begins I-House will send periodic construction updates and activity look-aheads to neighbors who opt-in to a project information mailing list. We also will hold regular in-person meetings with neighbors both in advance of and during construction. We plan to convene the first of these public meetings in spring 2020, well in advance of construction beginning in mid-summer 2020, in order to present further details about the project and respond to all questions from our neighbors.


Please check back as this FAQ will be updated on an ongoing basis.

For a Project Overview, click here.