WAN Awards 2015


WAN Mobile
WAN Mobile
Previous Next

Columbia University Manhattanville campus, New York, New York, United States

Saturday 05 Dec 2009

Round two in town and gown dispute

Renzo Piano Building Workshop/SOM 
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 0

Add comments | More comments

Be the first to comment


Court limits Columbia University’s expansion into West Harlem 

An ambitious development plan that would allow Columbia University to expand its campus and its influence in the West Harlem neighbourhood of Manhattanville was thwarted today when a state court ruled that the procedure by which the University was to acquire land to build the project was unconstitutional.

In December 2008, the elite Manhattan-based college, which has maxed out its ability to expand on its Morningside Heights campus, unveiled a $6.3 billion plan development plan by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and SOM, for a satellite campus in nearby West Harlem. But to build the project, the University needed to acquire private property from owners who did not want to sell, forcing it to use the power of eminent domain to acquire the land. What the court ruled today is that the condemnation procedure by which Columbia was to acquire the land, which requires proof of public benefit, was in the interest of the University only. The ruling will stall the project if not also deal it a fatal blow.

Columbia, which controls 91% of the 17-acre parcel slated for development, could simply build around the privately held land that stands in the way of its development plans. But to do that would be difficult if not impossible. As currently designed, the area impacted by today’s decision calls for a below grade service core that would eliminate truck traffic at grade to better pedestrianize the site. To build this feature Columbia said it needs to control the entire 17-acre site.

The University plans to appeal today’s decision.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

Key Facts

Status Concept design
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?

More projects by this architect

Cooper Hewitt Museum 2010 National Design Awards

Re-Contemplating the Void

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize

RAIA 2010 Gold Medal

More Projects

Latest Jobs in New York

California Licensed Senior Architect

Business Development Manager


Click here to view the NEWS IN PICTURES tablet site