Posts tagged with "Columbia University":

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Renzo Piano’s Brain Behavior Institute Breaks Ground at Columbia’s Manhattanville Campus

Construction of Columbia University’s 17-acre Manhattanville campus is now underway in northern Manhattan. The Wall Street Journal reported that work has already started on the foundation of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center that will house the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. This 450,000-square-foot glass building, designed by Renzo Piano, is the first of 15 new buildings to be built on the campus and is slated to open in 2016. Future plans for Columbia’s expansion include new homes for the Columbia Business School and the Lenfest Center for the Arts. Developer and Boston Properties CEO Mortimer Zuckerman has pledged $200 million to the endowment of the institute. The tab for the entire campus should run up to $6.8 billion.
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Architects and Scientists Debate How to Prepare a Post-Sandy New York Region

Barriers or freshwater wetlands? New building codes? What about porous pavements or floating city blocks? These were just a few of the ideas batted around at AIANY’s discussion and fundraiser, “Designing the City after Superstorm Sandy,” at the Center for Architecture last Thursday evening. The panel, moderated by Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New York Times, consisted of the city’s leading designers, architects, scientists, and government officials. While each panelist came to the conversation with a different approach and set of strategies, all agreed that change is necessary and new solutions urgent. “There’s a certain consensus about taking steps in the long-run,” said Kimmelman. The participants on the panel included Cynthia Barton, Housing Recovery Plan Manager at the NYC Office of Emergency Management; Howard Slatkin, Director of Sustainability and Deputy Director of Strategic Planning for the city; Dr. Klaus Jacob, a geophysicist and Special Research Scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Stephen Cassell, principal architect at ARO; Donna Walcavage, landscape architect and urban designer; and Robert M. Rogers, partner of Rogers Marvel Architects. The design solutions are part of a larger and more complex issue that call for us to “re-frame the ways we engage with the water,” said Cassell whose ideas helped to spearhead the Rising Currents exhibit at MoMA in 2010.  And as Kimmelman pointed out in his introduction, will force us to decide, “what parts of the city are necessary to change, salvage and develop and what parts we cannot.” Cassell and Walcavage advocate for what they term “soft solutions” such as freshwater wetlands and upland parks that won’t disrupt the balance of the ecosystem as oppose to the much talked about barriers. Dr. Jacob referred to himself as a “barrier skeptic.” He hasn’t completely ruled them out, but believes that other preventive measures should be considered, including regulations and large-scale regional planning with New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York. The solutions were at once specific and lofty, and Kimmelman challenged the panelists during the Q&A session when he asked: “Who will legislate and have authority? Why will something change now?” Many of the participants argued that Hurricane Sandy is a turning point, and there’s simply too much at stake. Rogers pointed out that New York City is a “grid of real estate” and the significant investment in waterfront property will prompt developers and the city to be pro-active whether that means implementing new codes and regulations or altering the landscape by creating saltwater marshes to act as buffers against rising sea levels and storms. A few panelists suggested that an improved version of Robert Moses would lead the way or joked that perhaps a benevolent god would appear. Even though Kimmelman remained ambivalent and questioned why strong and cohesive leadership would emerge now to help facilitate change, it looks like the city is already taking action. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has asked the Urban Green Council to launch a Building Resiliency Task Force, which will consist of leading professionals in New York City real estate. In an announcement last week, Urban Green said that the Task Force’s main objective is “to take an in-depth look at how to better prepare our buildings for future storms and infrastructure failures.” A list of recommendations will be released in summer of 2013.
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Slideshow> Frank Lloyd Wright Archive Moving to New York

This morning AN reported that a massive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural drawings, photographs, models, and more are heading to a new home at New York's Museum of Modern Art and Columbia University's Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, opening up the archive to academic and scholarly research. For your enjoyment, below is a sampling of the treasures encompassed in the collection and a video about the news. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives/Avery/MoMA unless noted otherwise.
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Unveiled> DS+R Designs Columbia’s Medical and Graduate Education Building

Medical and Graduate Education Building Architect: Diller Scofidio + Renfro Architect of Record: Gensler Client: Columbia University Medical Center Location: Haven Avenue and 171st Street Groundbreaking: Early 2013 Completion: 2016 Columbia University Medical Center has unveiled plans for the Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed Medical and Graduate Education Building on its campus in Washington Heights. Visible from nearby George Washington Bridge and Riverside Park, the 14-story tower will become a major landmark in the skyline of northern Manhattan, with a south-facing multi-story glass façade punctuated by jutting floorplates and exposed interior spaces. The building will house the four schools of CUMC along with the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The building will feature technology-enabled classrooms, operating rooms, and other real world clinical environments, collaborative and quiet study spaces, an auditorium, student lounges and cafes, and multiple outdoor spaces, all woven into the spiraling system of floor plates expressed on the structure's exterior. Social and public spaces are stacked along a central circulation stair dubbed the “Study Cascade” running the full height of the building. The Study Cascade holds a system of alcoves designed to foster collaboration and team-based learning and is clad in cement panels and wood, occasionally piercing the glass southern facade with protruding balconies and terraces. Classrooms, clinical simulation space, and administrative offices are housed in the northern face of the tower. “Spaces for education and socializing are intertwined to encourage new forms of collaborative learning among students and faculty, ” Elizabeth Diller wrote in a statement The tower will serve as a visual landmark for the northern limit of Columbia’s medical campus and its announcement follows the release of plans for the school’s Manhattanville expansion to the south of the new building. Construction on the tower is expected to begin in early 2013 and will take approximately 42 months. Columbia hopes the building will meet LEED-Gold standards for sustainability.
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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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One Word: Plastics

Plastics was the key word at the recent Columbia conference "Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering," which featured some of the best architects working with polymers today. On opening night, Greg Lynn did away with traditional tectonics in favor of total composite design from recycled toys to beautiful racing boats. Several pieces were on display in the lobby, including a beautiful backlit ribbed column cover designed by Columbia associate professor Yoshiko Sato (assisted by Shuning Zhao and John Hooper). Sato, who's known for her NASA design research and space course at Columbia, also designed the two over-sized plastic inflatable flowers suspended from the lobby ceiling, as shown above. The composite designs will be up and on view at the Morningside Heights campus at least another week.    
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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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Quick Clicks> Piano, Plazas, Babbling, Budget Cuts

Manhattanville's Piano. While tallying who is the biggest landlord in New York (it's still the church by a hair), The Observer uncovered a few new views of Renzo Piano's Jerome L. Green Science Center at Columbia's Manhattanville campus, seen here next to a train viaduct. Pedestrianizing New York. The remaking of New York's public spaces continues its forward march. Brownstoner has details on the planned pedestrian plaza on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn and StreetsBlog highlights DOT's plans to create a permanent block-long Plaza de las Americas in Washington Heights. Archi-babble. Witold Rybczynski talkes issue with architecture's professional jargon in Slate, including a beginner's guide to commonly used words from assemblage to gesamtkunstwerk. What's your favorite word from the language of architecture? Subway Squeeze. We're not talking about your crowded commute, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to trim $100 million from transit. Transportation Nation and StreetsBlog have the details and implications for getting around New York.
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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.”
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Last Columbia Hold Out Hung Out to Dry by Top Court

Nick Sprayregen, the last remaining holdout in the way of Columbia University's Manhattanville expansion project, has just had his fortunes reversed—quite literally, as now it appears the school has a good chance of taking Sprayregen's land through eminent domain to make way for its new 17-acre campus. Last December, Sprayregen won an unexpected court decision, which was overturned today in a unanimous decision by the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court. The Observer astutely points out that even justice Robert Smith, the lone dissenter in the major Atlantic Yards case, sided with the majority this time out. At issue was whether the Empire State Development Corporation has the right to take private land and convey it to Columbia, which the lower appellate court found it did not, as in the judges view there was no clear public purpose. In today's reversal, the justices found that the agency made a clear and compelling case for the project, and it was not the place of the judiciary to overule them:
ESDC considered a wide range of factors including the physical, economic, engineering and environmental conditions at the Project site. Its decision was not based on any one of these factors, but on the Project site conditions as a whole. Accordingly, since there is record support — "extensively documented photographically and otherwise on a lot-by-lot basis" (id. at 526) — for ESDC's determination that the Project site was blighted, the Appellate Division plurality erred when it substituted its view for that of the legislatively designated agency.
Sprayregen has vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court, whose ruling five years ago on the notorious Kelo case largely set the stage for such private-to-private-for-public-transfers as this. It remains anyone's guess how they might hold this time around. (Or even if they will.) Meanwhile, construction on the southern part of campus continues apace.