The 48,000-square-foot new addition to Columbia’s Baker Athletics Center is sited dramatically where the Harlem River meets the Hudson, and the city visibly hangs on granite cliffs. And geology was a key factor in the design of the sports center, developed by Steven Holl with firm partner Chris McVoy, as were ideas about movement and shifting ground so common in field sports. Imagining a diagram of “points in the ground, lines in space,” the architects pushed the building’s elevation over the steep slope to be supported on point foundations.
The facade is activated with external, stepped ramps, and terraces that hint at both a sports dynamic as well as the neighborhood tradition of fire escapes. The five-story facility is intended to be the state-of-the-art gateway to Baker Athletics Complex, with a full array of sustainable and ecological features, replacing a maintenance shed currently on the site. Scheduled to open in 2012, the Campbell Sports Center will be Holl’s first building in Manhattan.
Architect: Steven Holl Architects
Client: Columbia University
Location: Broadway and 218th Street