Columbia University’s Accessible Lift in the International Affairs Building Recognized in AIA Design Awards Ceremony

December 12, 2022

Columbia University received a Citation Award for the disability access lift in the International Affairs Building from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Westchester + Hudson Valley Chapter. The award recognized the architectural design of the lift as part of AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley’s 2022 Design Awards ceremony, which honors projects that have made a positive aesthetic and social contribution to the built environment.

Designed by Richard Gonzalez Architect, the lift creates an accessible connection between the street level lobby and upper atrium levels of the International Affairs Building’s fourth floor. The lift allows individuals requiring assistance on the upper level of the fourth floor to seamlessly access the building’s elevators, while also allowing individuals who enter the building’s main entrance on 118th Street to access amenities at the upper atrium level, including student lounges, an auditorium, and connection to the Law School at Jerome L. Greene Hall. Previously, individuals with accessibility needs in the International Affairs Building could only access the upper atrium level by exiting the building and using an interbuilding connection in the Law School building at 116th Street.

Improving accessibility throughout Columbia’s historic Morningside campus is an ongoing priority for the University. In addition to the disability access lift in the International Affairs Building, Columbia has completed a number of projects aimed to address accessibility challenges present on its campus grounds and buildings that were constructed over a century ago.  Among the improvements are permanent accessible ramps at Low Plaza, Lower Campus, and Butler Plaza; an accessible ramp and entrance into Havemeyer Hall; a sloped pathway leading from the Mathematics Building to Havemeyer Plaza; a lift connecting the Mathematics lobby to its building elevators; a limited use/limited application (LU/LA) elevator in Pupin Hall to connect the 13th and 14th floors; and more.

Columbia has previously received Design Awards from the AIA New York Chapter for projects including the construction of The Forum and Lenfest Center for the Arts at the Manhattanville campus, as well as the Brown Institute for Media Innovation and Stabile Student Center in Pulitzer Hall.

Chartered by the AIA in 1936, AIA Westchester + Hudson Valley is the second largest AIA chapter in New York State. The chapter is comprised of over 700 licensed architects, emerging professionals, students, and allied partners who are interested in architecture and design.