The first stage of Columbia University’s new Manhattanville Campus, consisting of two buildings by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, is nearly complete, with a move-in and grand opening slated for spring 2017.
The Piano-designed Jerome L Greene Science Center and Lenfest Center for the Arts are the first two buildings to be completed within the larger campus masterplan, conceived by Piano in collaboration with SOM, that will eventually encompass nearly 19-acres between 125th and 133rd streets in northwestern Manhattan.
The 450,000-square-foot Science Center constitutes the single largest building ever constructed by Columbia University, and contains open-plan laboratory areas and interactive spaces, encircling a core of meeting and collaborative spaces. An abundance of natural light penetrates deep into the building via double-skin glass walls, which have been designed to eliminate noise from nearby subway and highway bridges.
"I'm suspicious about metaphors," remarked Piano. "But if it is a palace, it is a palace of light."
At ground level, a community wellness center, education lab, exhibition area, retail and restaurants will invite the public to use the building as well.
Next door, the 60,000-square-foot Lenfest Center for the Arts will provide flexible space for a variety of artistic interventions, including more 4,000 square feet of column-free exhibition space, a 150-seat theater for film and digital projection, an adaptable performance space for experimental productions and a 4,300-square-foot lecture and presentation space. The four main program elements feature double-height spaces, with support services and offices located on the mezzanine levels. Unique exterior “column-like structures” will distribute loads to the outside of the building, allowing interior spaces to remain open.
The 8-story building has been clad primarily in painted aluminum, with large expanses of double-height windows strategically located to provide performance areas with targeted natural light. The ground floor, however, has been fitted with a completely transparent custom-glazed curtain wall to promote a connection to the campus and provide views to activities within.
The next phase of the campus masterplan consists of a third building by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the 56,000-square-foot University Forum and Academic Conference Center, which is currently under construction and expected to be completed by 2018. Soon to begin construction is the a new home for the Columbia Business School, designed by Diller Scofidio+Renfro in collaboration with FXFowle around a one-acre publicly accessible green space.
Future phases will include the adaptive reuse of several former industrial buildings including an auto finishing plant for Studebaker Motors and a Sheffield Farms dairy facility. All buildings on the campus will eventually be connected through an underground system leading to a 75,000-square-foot energy plant, which will provide all buildings with electricity, chilled water and high-pressure steam.
“Underground, there is continuity among the various buildings,” said Piano, “but above ground the buildings belong to both the campus and the city.”
The full campus development is estimated to cost $6.3 billion. More information on the plans can be found on the campus website, here.
News via Columbia University.