Posts tagged with "Columbia University":

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Close Look at Columbia’s Manhattanville Public Spaces, and Its Clean Construction Practices

Thanks to state of the art green building technologies and a proactive clean construction plan, Columbia University’s 17-acre Manhattanville campus in West Harlem is set to become New York City’s first LEED-Platinum certified neighborhood plan. Columbia is successfully mitigating the environmental effects of the 6.8 million square feet of new construction that is currently underway on the former industrial site between 129th and 133rd Streets, Broadway and 12th Avenue, just north of the main Morningside Heights campus, by teaming up with the Environmental Defense Fund and carefully limiting the noise, dust, and soot that emanates from the site. The university has also released new renderings, showing the landscape and public spaces designed by James Corner Field Operations.  The plan incorporates academic and research space, underground parking, civic and cultural facilities, as well as commercial space and 94,00 square feet of open space, including a one-acre public square. This new urban campus, which will be built over the next 25 years, represents a distinct departure from the insular walled-in model of Columbia’s Morningside Heights campus, as the University plans to create pedestrian friendly landscapes, widen sidewalks, convey transparency and openness with glass faced ground floors, and provide opportunities for local small businesses and entrepreneurs by leasing out storefronts on the new buildings.
While the University has demolished 33 buildings in the area, as much as 90 percent of the materials have been saved or recycled. All diesel construction equipment, running on ultra-low sulfur fuel, is equipped with particulate filters which release neither soot nor smell, and electric power is used whenever possible. To help create a dust free construction site, all construction vehicles have their wheels and undercarriages washed down twice before they leave the site, and the water use is recycled for future washes. A composite wall of Jersey barriers, plywood fencing, and noise blankets surrounds the entire operation. “Construction can either be an environmental nuisance to people,” said Philip Pitrruzello, Vice President of Columbia’s Manhattanville Construction, in a statement, “or construction can work with a community to help make livable cities.”
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Altschul Atrium at Barnard College

In collaboration with New York-based common room architects, students at Barnard + Columbia Undergraduate Architecture (b+c a) designed a temporary installation to transform student space at the school's Altschul Atrium. The Altschul building, a modernist structure built in 1969, sits on the northwest corner of Barnard's campus facing east towards the Weiss/Manfredi-designed Diana Center, which opened in January 2011. The new center houses undergraduate architecture, studio art, and art history departments and has brought increased movement to the center of campus, including students looking for space to sit, read and socialize between class.  This addition to the campus has also brought attention to the unused atrium space at Altschul, which houses faculty offices and labs. The the idea behind the atrium installation is to encourage a more interactive relationship with the Altschul space as well as with other neighboring buildings on campus. Students and faculty of b+c a have envisioned an installation that accommodates multi-use programming and one that focuses on the importance of flexibility and function. Beginning with a student design competition addressing how best to use the communal space during the academic year, the team developed a design for the atrium. Common room worked with b+c a alumni and current students to design and fabricate a series of plywood and colored mirror pieces that reinforce a spatial concept of overlapping hexagons. As described by common room, "The hexagon operates at three different scales for this project—the scale of the campus, the scale of the atrium space, and the scale of the modular furniture unit." Engaging at all three scales, the atrium installation invites an opening to the larger campus through formation of smaller enclosures within which students can hold exhibitions, informal meetings, and populated events. Low hexagonal stools composed of a plywood shells and stuffed canvas cushion can be reconfigured in groupings around the space and are also easily stackable. With the help of alumni and student volunteers at b+c a, pieces of the atrium will be assembled and installed for use at the start of the academic year. Come September, students will be able to further program the space with use of an interactive events calendar, which will be projected nearby.
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Columbia Boathouse Marsh Hullabaloo

Columbia University looks as though it's in the final stretch of the public review process for the proposed Boathouse Marsh designed by James Corner Field Operations and the Steven Holl-designed Campbell Sports Center. On Friday night and Sunday afternoon, Columbia University Executive VP Joseph Ienuso made presentations to neighborhood residents. A few media outlets dubbed the gatherings "dueling meetings," due to some political infighting between council members Robert Jackson and Ydanis Rodriguez, which erupted during a subcommittee meeting before the city council last week. The background political drama only heightened already-tense negotiations between the neighbors and the university. The City Planning Commission green-lighted the project on February 16. The proposed 47,700 square foot Campbell Sports Center building sits on a riverfront lot. The university is required by law to devote 15 percent of waterfront property to public access. But instead, the university asked that Field Operations spruce up adjacent wetlands on city-owned land in Inwood Hill Park and offered 10 percent of the university land for public use, arguing that the university can barely squeeze in fields for football, baseball, softball, soccer, and field hockey, as well as six indoor tennis courts and two boathouses. For their part, Columbia has put an "action plan" in writing that promises to deed the boathouse dock to the city and develop children programs that teach rowing. The eight-point plan focuses primarily on access to the facilities, but also emphasizes getting on the water, a timely point that found its way into the recently released NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan released last week.  Several rowers who spoke at both meetings, apparently got Jackson's ear. The councilman plans to meet with them early this week. The rowers are pushing for another item to be added to the action agenda: a place to store boats. The deadline for council approval or disapproval is April 6.
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Columbia Builds Holl-y Hell in Inwood

Can Columbia build anything without causing a ruckus? There is, of course, the famous gym proposed for Riverside Park that triggered the 1968 riots, and more recently the huge fight over its 17-acre Manhattanville expansion. Now the Times is reporting a "teapot-size storm" surrounding the university's proposal to build a new athletic center within its complex in Inwood. According to the Gray Lady, the issues are the same as anywhere in Manhattan: light, views, and context. “It does not relate well to the community,” said Gail Addiss, 61, an architect who lives opposite Baker Field. “It’s similar to Frank Gehry architecture — large metal things whose glare is going to cause more brightness to reflect into people’s windows.”