- Design Architect : Rafael Moneo Valles, Belen Moneo, Jeff Brock
- Moneo Brock Studio Project Team : Benjamin Llana, Andrés Barron, Spencer Leaf
- Associate Architect : Davis Brody Bond, William Paxson
- Dbba Project Team : Mayine Lynn Yu, David Haft, Fernando Hausch-Fen, Gene Sparling, Mario Samara, Clover Linne, Dohhee Zhoung, Veronique Ross, James Paxson
- Project Management : Columbia University Facilities – Capital Project Management
- Facade Consultant : R.A. Heintges & Associates
- Cost Estimating : Wolf and Company
- Client : Columbia University
- City : New York
- Country : United States
Text description provided by the architects. With the addition of this building, Columbia University, one of the world’s most prestigious institutions for arts and sciences, greatly expands its capabilities in an interdisciplinary approach to scientific research. The building is located on the Northwest corner of the University’s historic Morningside Heights Campus designed by McKim, Mead and White in 1897. It adds approximately 4.500 m2 of laboratory space and 2.000 m2 of classroom, office and study space. It also includes a 1.300 m2 research library, a 170-seat auditorium, a public café and a new entrance to the University’s Basketball and Volleyball Gymnasium.
Constructed above the existing Francis S. Levien Gymnasium, the site conditions posed a significant structural challenge requiring that the new building span over the 125 foot wide facility, while maintaining large open floors for laboratories, whose structural slabs needed to be stiff enough for the use of microscopes and other vibration-sensitive equipment.
This structural feat became the defining gesture of the project. By representing the structural frame on the building façade through the application of aluminum fins oriented in parallel to the frame elements, the design reveals the varied geometry of bracing elements in the resultant patchwork of light and shadow as the “grain” of the fins shifts between the three possible “positions”. The building's campus facade is almost entirely glass, revealing the interior workings of the building and emphasizing openness and a connection to the campus community.
Besides providing critical program spaces for the University, the building also forms a new gateway to the Morningside Campus, incorporating in its northern end a fluid sequence of brightly and naturally-lit spaces along a path between the street corner and the Campus level some 10 meters higher. All this is fit alongside elevator cores and service shafts within a constrained footprint in the area not occupied by the gymnasium.
Working as the Project Design Architect with Rafael Moneo, Moneo Brock Studio managed the project through all stages of the design process. Completed December 2010