Columbia University Campus New York Expansion, Higher Education Building, Architect, Images, Proposal

Columbia University Campus New York

Manhattanville Expansion News, NYC, USA – design by Renzo Piano, architect, RPBW

Oct 25, 2016

Columbia University Manhattanville Campus Expansion

Columbia University’s Manhattanville Campus Expansion News

Design: architect Renzo Piano of Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)

Columbia University Manhattanville Campus Buildings
image from architect

Columbia University Manhattanville Campus Expansion

Columbia University Dedicates Its 17–Acre Manhattanville Campus, Establishing Its Academic and Civic Aspirations for a Century to Come

Nov 13, 2013

Columbia University Campus

Design: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

New York City, USA

The expansion is ongoing.

Master plan for the extension of Columbia University in the Harlem district, New York. A project where architecture meets city-planning and sociology, reinventing the role of campus and opening its doors to the city.

131st looking West – proposed:
Columbia University Campus building design Renzo Piano Building Workshop
picture published by permission of CU

131st looking West – photo from 2008:
Columbia University Campus New York streetscape
photo from Renzo Piano Building Workshop

We’ll be posting updates re this campus shortly on this page, in Nov 2013.

For more on Columbia go to

Columbia University Campus image / information from CU

Dec 21, 2007

Columbia University Campus Plan

Design: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Dates: 2002-in progress
Location: New York, USA

Columbia University Manhattan Columbia University Campus Columbia University Campus Plan

Client: Columbia University
Renzo Piano Building Workshop, architects
in collaboration with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, urban designers (New York)

Columbia University Campus Plan : Description

The Columbia University campus has been located since 1896 on Morningside Heights, the hill next to Harlem. We are in the district that saw the birth of jazz and Martin Luther King’s social struggle, the Black Panther revolt and the films of Spike Lee.

In other words, a place that stands as a symbol of New York, and that is now looking for a cultural and social renaissance after a long parenthesis of crime and violence.

For some time now the Columbia University building has not been large enough to hold academic activities and the number of enrolled students. For this reason rector Lee Bollinger entrusted RPBW (along with SOM) to devise a master plan for the northward extension of campus, in an area occupied by goods sheds and garages.

For the client, which in the past had an uneasy relationship with the district, this is the right occasion to rethink its own role and open its campus to the city through theatres, libraries, recording studios and art galleries open to the public.

The role of campus will be reinvented starting from the idea of participation, permeability and conviviality, respecting the history of the place and the needs and expectations of its citizens.

Columbia University Campus New York Manhattanville Expansion design by Renzo Piano architect, RPBW University Campus New York Manhattanville Expansion design by Renzo Piano architect

For this reason, the first approach is not about planning, but rather a topographical and sociological one: you study the land and its history, you record what already exists and you metabolize it.

The site that is concerned with the enlargement stretches from south to north between 125th and 133rd, bounded by Broadway to the east and by Riverside Drive to the west ­– these are very distinctive physical and symbolic presences, and our project must and wants to converse with them.

That’s why a trace of them can be found, like a watermark, in the new buildings.
The master plan is divided into different and progressive phases, the first of which concerns the construction of four academic buildings, the School of Art among them. All these buildings open on the “Common”, a large square open to the public and the students, a meeting and relaxing place, thought out to be adjustable to different needs: sports, concerts, celebrations.

In distributing the space over the buildings we will follow the “urban layer” principle: in the ground floor layer of every building an urban public space is defined so as to make it entirely permeable and travelled over.

Columbia University Campus Plan design by Renzo Piano architect University Campus Plan New York City Manhattanville Expansion design by Renzo Piano architect Manhattanville Campus Plan design by Renzo Piano architect

This is the space Columbia shares with the district.
The spaces reserved to the university are placed above and under this layer: the laboratories and the technical services are dug into the rocks, while the academic spaces and the offices are upstairs. The choice of forms, materials and colours comes from the accumulation of our previous experiences and the observation of what already exists: the heights respect the datum of the neighbouring buildings, the materials empathize with the context.

Manhattanville Campus Plan Manhattanville Campus New York City Columbia University Campus Plan

So there will be steel and glass, terra-cotta and clay, as in the surrounding buildings, but they will be arranged in patterns and schemes that change with the changing of the position and function of the buildings. It’s like a sensitive “skin” that changes when external conditions change.

CU Campus info from Renzo Piano Building Workshop 211207

Columbia University Campus Columbia University Campus Columbia University Campus

Renzo Piano architect, RPBW

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architects :

Location: New York City, USA

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Website: Columbia University