The Campus

NYU Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island campus is a pedestrian campus that combines traditional and modern architectural elements to reflect the University’s three identities: Abu Dhabi, New York, and the world. Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, the campus covers nearly 40 acres and promotes interaction between living and learning, research and teaching, and the disciplines, as well as faculty, students, and staff.

The arrangement of offices, the visibility across large areas and between indoors and outdoors, the connections between buildings so that none stand alone, the outdoor gathering spaces, and residential living are among the ways the campus’ design encourages this interaction.

Crucially, the NYU Abu Dhabi campus aims to cultivate a deep engagement with the Abu Dhabi community and, more broadly, the region through academic collaboration, public arts performances, museum-quality exhibitions, and recreational outreach programs for families and children.

Key Features

Campus Center

The focal point of NYU Abu Dhabi, the building serves as a gathering point for the community and houses a range of spaces for student life, meeting rooms, lounges, informal study spaces, restaurants, and athletics facilities.


The Library is located at the top of Campus Center. Technologically sophisticated, flexible, and modern, the Library offers spaces for group interaction, individual study, and has a growing number of historic collections in English and Arabic.

Conference Center

Home of the NYUAD Institute, and where distinguished international thinkers come to exchange ideas and engage with the community. The building has a 300-seat lecture hall, 180-seat auditorium, meeting rooms, and spacious entrance lobby.

Experimental Research Building

The ERB supports advanced research and cross-disciplinary collaborations in the sciences and engineering, housing labs organized around multidisciplinary areas of research, extensive core facilities, and instructional labs.

Arts Center

The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, designed by the acclaimed Rafael Viñoly Architects with acoustics by Shen Milsom & Wilke, is a multi-purpose complex of theaters and performance venues, rehearsals rooms, film editing studios, classrooms, and workshops. 

Art Gallery

Located at the entrance to campus, the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery is equipped for exhibitions in all media, allowing for experimental and traditional museum installations. The Art Gallery also presents works in The Project Space, located in the Arts Center.

Central Plaza Named John E. Sexton Square

December 9, 2021
The Central Campus Plaza has been named John E. Sexton Square, in recognition by Abu Dhabi of the foundational role of our NYU President Emeritus in the creation of NYUAD. 

A plinth has been in stalled in the plaza bearing the inscription: “Dedicated to John E. Sexton, NYU President Emeritus, the pioneering educator whose vision for global education continues to inspire NYU Abu Dhabi.”

Sexton, who is also Dean Emeritus of NYU Law School and the Benjamin Butler Professor of Law, joined the Law School faculty in 1981. He was named the School’s Dean in 1988 and served in that capacity for 14 years. He was named the University's President in 2001 and served in that capacity until January 1, 2016.

Campus Facts

Rafael Viñoly Architects

Rafael Viñoly Architects

Al-Futtaim Carillion (contractor), 
Al Khatib Cracknell Ltd., LLC (landscape architect)

August 2014
425,000 gross square meters
Built to accommodate 2,600 students
North site: 4 hectares
South site: 11.3 hectares