Columbia University reveals plans for daring new medical education tower
Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) today unveiled plans for a new state-of-the art medical and graduate education building to be built on its Washington Heights campus in Northern Manhattan. The new building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Gensler as executive architect, will be a 14-storey glass tower that incorporates smart classrooms, collaboration spaces, and a modern simulation center all reflecting how medicine will be taught, learned, and practiced in the 21st Century.
To be supported by a lead gift of $50m from P. Roy Vagelos, M.D., a distinguished alumnus of Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S), the building will be at once an important landmark on the skyline of Northern Manhattan - visible from the nearby George Washington Bridge and Riverside Park - a state-of-the-art medical education building and a project that will revitalize the CUMC campus and the surrounding neighborhood. In a press release announcing the project, Architect Elizabeth Diller referred to the building as ‘a social and academic anchor of the CUMC campus’ where ‘spaces for education and socializing are intertwined to encourage new forms of collaborative learning among students and faculty’.
Highlights of the building include a new auditorium and event areas with integrated technology, centralized student support services, student lounges and cafes, and multi-purpose outdoor spaces including a terrace with views of the Hudson River. The design centralizes all social and public spaces around a vertical stack at the south face of the building. This continuous space features a multi-storey glass façade that reveals the activities within whilst maximizing light and providing exceptional views to the south.
The interiors of the study cascade - a system of special alcoves for social interaction - are complemented by outdoor gathering spaces and terraces that are clad in cement panels, wood and other materials. In addition to being the principal design feature in the building, the transparent façade of the study cascade is intended to serve as a visual landmark at the northern limit of Columbia’s medical campus. The northern face of the building will house spaces for classrooms, clinical simulation, and administrative space. The building will be designed to meet LEED Gold standards.
Construction is expected to begin in 2013 with completion 42 months later.