Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts - (Page 20)

feature The Challenges of Expansion Growing far beyond its Morningside Heights campus, Columbia University strives to balance academic needs with neighborhood aspirations in Manhattanville B Y F R E D A . B E R N S T EIN I n 1897, Columbia University moved into its Morningside Heights campus, described by its designer - the classicist Charles McKim of McKim, Mead & White - as an "academic village." But if the new campus was inward-looking, it was also public. "As originally developed, the campus was far more closely integrated with the urban fabric than it is today," wrote the architectural historian Hilary Ballon. Back then, she observed, "116th Street was open to traffic," and University President Seth Low "rejected a proposed gate that would have served to privatize" much of McKim's creation. More than a century later, Columbia still grapples with the desire to maintain an inwardlooking campus while remaining open to the city. Achieving both has never been more necessary - or more difficult. In 2016, the university will open four new buildings, including the mammoth Jerome L. Greene Science Center designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) with Davis Brody Bond. That 450,000-square-foot building is part of the new Manhattanville campus, which will cover 17 acres west of Broadway and north of 125th Street. When completed around 2030, following a master plan by RPBW and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, it is expected to contain about 6.8 million square feet, making it far more dense than the Morningside Heights campus, with its 5.6 million square feet on some 32 acres. posed building two skyscrapers inside the original quadrangle. A few years later (1974), it shoehorned a new gym, the Dodge Fitness Center by Eggers Partnership, into the same already overcrowded space. And as recently as 1999, its student center, Lerner Hall, designed by then-architecture dean Bernard Tschumi, FAIA, with Gruzen Samton, turned its back on Broadway. But now Columbia is trying to be a better neighbor. The university, in announcing its goals for the Manhattanville campus, has emphasized efforts to train and hire locals and to house residents displaced by demolition. (One building at 148th Street and Broadway, designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning and expected to be completed in 2016, contains apartments for the Manhattanville diaspora.) And recently, especially since Lee Bollinger became president in 2002, the university has experimented with using architecture as a tool of community relations. Neighborly ways First, Columbia has created buildings that are at least partly open to the public. The Northwest Corner Building (2010), designed by the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo and Davis Brody Bond, houses laboratories, yet its base includes a public thoroughfare through the campus's previously inviolable northern edge. In 1968, I.M. Pei & Partners (now Pei Cobb Freed & Partners) was commissioned to design a master plan, which included two towers on the original Columbia campus. The magnitude of the expansion poses many challenges for Columbia, including avoiding the mistakes of the 1960s. Back then, Columbia's expansion plans, according to the New York Times, entailed "purchasing apartment buildings all over Morningside Heights, displacing thousands of poor, mostly black and Puerto Rican residents." When it then attempted to build a gym (designed by Eggers & Higgins) in city-owned Morningside Park, anger erupted into riots. For years afterward, the university - skittish about expanding beyond McKim's walls - turned inward. In 1968 it commissioned a master plan from I.M. Pei & Partners (now Pei Cobb Freed & Partners), which pro20 Oculus Spring 2016 ┬ęPei Cobb Freed & Partners Lessons of history Institutional Shifts

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts

Letter from the President
Letter from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: The Intersection of Technology and Walkability
The Challenges of Expansion
A Win-Win at Rockefeller University
Course Requirements
1,087 Windows (and a Unique Focus) on the City
Tech Time
Playing a New Tune
A More Perfect Union
Social Innovation by Design
In Print
117-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts