Diana joins the Seven Sisters

05 Feb 2010

Broadway welcomes new women's college building

Former student at Barnard College Diana Vagelos experienced what most could never dream of this week as she attended the ribbon cutting of the College's new 98,000 sq ft multipurpose arts building, named in her honour. The Diana Center, made possible due to her generous $15 million donation (almost 1/3 of the total cost), has won both a national design competition and a Progressive Architecture Award and is the new social and educational hub for the arts college.

Barnard College is one of the prestigious 'Seven Sisters' women's arts colleges of North Eastern America (which include Wellesley and Radcliffe among others). The Diana Center's design, conceived by Weiss/Manfredi, reflects the college's liberal curriculum with transparency, flow, and its overall design encouraging the Barnard community to interact, to exchange ideas, and to engage in rigorous and creative thinking.

The Diana Center encompasses the college's architecture and painting studios, a 500-seat performance space, black box theatre, cafe, dining room, reading room, classrooms, and exhibition galleries. It will also be open to the public and has been designed to encourage this interaction. Located on Broadway, the Diana Center unites landscape and architecture, interior and exterior in a seven-storey structure. Carving a diagonal void through the building, ascending double-height glass atria establish views through program spaces and visually connect Lehman Lawn to the upper floors of the building and the green roof.The slipped atria and unfolded glazed staircase bring in natural light and eliminate visual boundaries between the College and the city while providing spaces for informal interaction to encourage collaboration and dialogue across disciplines.

The facade, composed of 1,154 clear and coloured integral glass panels, translates the brick and terra cotta of the surrounding neighbourhood into a luminous, energy-efficient exterior.

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