Columbia’s Manhattanville Campus Wins Urban Land Institute Award

April 05, 2019

Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus has been awarded the 2019 Urban Land Institute New York (ULI NY) Award for Excellence in Institutional Development, a statewide competition recognizing projects that demonstrate commitment to planning, design, sustainability, and community impact. The campus joins other prestigious projects winning awards including the MTA’s World Trade Center/Cortlandt Street Station, Building 77 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Essex Crossing, and 3 World Trade Center. The awards were announced at a gala reception on April 4, 2019.

“This new campus is a once-in-a-century opportunity to expand one of the greatest universities in the world and to do so in ways that reflect modern sensibilities about design, the academic mission, and the relationships with local communities and neighborhoods,” said Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger. “We are extremely proud of the new campus and believe there is nothing like it in the nation.”

The first phase of the Manhattanville campus in West Harlem – which includes three new buildings (the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, Lenfest Center for the Arts and The Forum) – was recognized for:

  • An Open Campus – The gateless campus offers landscaped open space, including plazas with seating and free public Wi-Fi, for public gatherings and performances.  All streets of the existing street grid will remain open and more publicly inviting with widened sidewalks, trees, street lighting and street furnishings.
  • Street Level Public Access – The ground floors of the new buildings feature retail spaces, restaurants, and community resources like the Community Wellness Center, which provides free blood pressure readings, cholesterol screening, and AIC glucose testing, and the Education Lab, which offers free Saturday Science classes and events throughout the school year in partnership with the mobile science lab BioBus.  The transparent, glass façade at street level makes the campus’s ground-floor amenities visually and physically accessible to the greater community.
  • Flexible Research Facilities and an Interdisciplinary Mix of Academic Uses – The campus brings together scholars and practitioners from a wide array of academic, cultural, and scientific disciplines to produce new knowledge that will help address the great challenges facing humanity.
  • Efficiency Below Ground – Contiguous underground space provides services for loading, energy and utilities across the new campus and avoids redundancy.
  • More Opportunities – Columbia is providing more than $150 million in benefits to the West Harlem community under agreements reached with the State and local community, in addition to the local jobs and economic opportunity generated by the new campus.  Throughout the construction process, the University prioritized hiring a diverse and local workforce, with nearly $365 million spent with minority-, women- or locally-owned (MWL) firms since the start of construction in 2008.
  • Design that Honors the Past and Sustains the Future – Each building has a design aesthetic that is both rooted in the present and inspired by the distinctive architectural features of the neighborhood’s industrial past.
David M. Greenberg, executive vice president for Columbia University Facilities and Operations, accepted the award at the ULI NY gala reception on April 4, 2019. (Photo: credit: Steven Lipofsky)

The campus’s environmentally sustainable design and overall project plan achieved Stage 1 LEED Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Neighborhood Development pilot rating system—the highest designation in the rating system. In addition, all three new buildings have been awarded LEED® Gold certification under the New Construction rating system.

The campus, with three buildings constructed to date, brings to life design principles developed from a master plan by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

The design team for the Jerome L. Greene Science Center and Lenfest Center for the Arts, which opened in 2016 and 2017 respectively, was led by Renzo Piano Building Workshop as design architect, with Davis Brody Bond as executive architect and Body Lawson Associates as associate architect.  Lendlease served as construction manager for both the Greene Science Center and Lenfest Center.

The Forum, which opened in September 2018, was also designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, with Dattner Architects as executive architect and Caples Jefferson as associate architect. Skanska led construction for The Forum.

The Jerome L. Greene Science Center provides 450,000 square feet of space for the neuroscience researchers of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. Established in 2012, the Zuckerman Institute is Columbia University’s comprehensive center for interdisciplinary and collaborative research in brain science.  The 60,000-square-foot Lenfest Center for the Arts features multiple venues for Columbia University’s School of the Arts, including the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, a 150-seat film screening room, a flexible performance space, and presentation space for readings, symposia, and seminars.  The Forum serves as a gateway to the new Manhattanville campus. The 56,000-square-foot building features a 437-seat auditorium, a variety of meeting rooms, offices, and street-level space intended for public use including a café with Wi-Fi, ample public seating, an information center, and an open area where Columbia’s schools and divisions will offer programming.