The latest addition to the Columbia University’s campus now consists of Henry R. Kravis Hall and David Geffen Hall, designed by the American architecture studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FX Collaborative. The 492,000 square feet Columbia business school is located on the banks of the Hudson river in Northern Manhattan, succeeding the first phase buildings built by Renzo Piano.
Doubling the present footage of the school, the new facilities enable different users to be able to gather and exchange ideas. The multi-functional spaces intended for students, faculty, alumni and practitioners recognise the need for innovation, communication and creativity as important as the conventional quantitative knowledge gained inside the four walls of a classroom structure. The characteristics of any 21st-century business involve a fast-paced, high-tech and social model of practice which is consciously attempted in the design by DS+R through the building’s facade. Each building facade contains a custom curtainwall system, regularized based on the exterior building geometry.
Dating back to 2011, when DS+R got selected by Columbia University through the international design competition, the construction began 5 years later to finally open to students and faculty this year in 2022. The building organization shuffles alternating floors of faculty offices with student learning spaces in the eleven-story Kravis Hall and floors for administrative offices and learning spaces in the eight-story Geffen Hall. Kravis Hall offers 360 degrees of exposure and proximity to the Hudson River. At the same time, Geffen Hall establishes a strong connection to the urban fabric of the neighbourhood and the mid-block pedestrian axis of the Manhattanville master plan.
The school’s internal spaces are organized around intersecting networks of circulation and collaborative learning environments that extend up vertically through each building, linking spaces of teaching, socializing, and studying, to create a continuous space of learning and interaction that remains vibrant 24 hours a day. The Network links a myriad of intimate lounges, flexible seminar spaces, open-breakout, tiered seating, carrels, and informal hang-out spaces into a new type of academic space.
At the Geffen Hall, the ground floor houses a cafe while the Cooperman Commons auditorium on the first floor, accommodates 274 persons. Additionally, it also houses the Harlem Small Business Development Center and the Multi-function room that offers support and services to local businesses and entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, at the Kravis hall, on the ground floor lies a retail space. On level one, there is an urban-scale living room named the ‘Samberg Commons’, facilitating spaces for group study, breakouts and meetings through various tiered and undulating seatings made of oak. Level four, at Kravis, consists of a student social lounge that provides a screening room, game room, and casual dining spaces where students can relax and unwind. Also, at level ten is the dining room in Kravis Hall, capable of lodging 238 persons while offering panoramic views to the George Washington Bridge, with access to an outdoor terrace.
The classrooms of Columbia business school have different capacities ranging from 25-150 seats and also different models like ‘Quiet-Study rooms’ and ‘Group-Study rooms’ for better efficiency. Every classroom provides a view of the city and landscape. The two new buildings welcome the community while adding onto the school’s ten-year history of supporting local entrepreneurs. The entire 17-acre campus of the Columbia Business school is also home to the Lenfest Center for the Arts, the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, The Forum and a public park.
- CLIENT: Columbia University
- ARCHITECTS: Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FXCollaborative
- SUSTAINABILITY/ LEED CONSULTANT: FXCollaborative
- STRUCTURAL ENGINEER, EXTERIOR ENVELOPE AND FACADE CONSULTANT: Arup
- PHOTOGRAPHY: Iwan Baan
- Text: Nikitha Sunil | Contributor at A+D