Lenfest Center for the Arts Honored with Prestigious Architectural Merit Award from AIA New York

The Lenfest Center for the Arts, the second new building completed at Columbia’s Manhattanville campus, was recognized with a 2018 Merit Award in the Architecture category from AIA New York, the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

January 09, 2018

The eight-floor, 60,000-square-foot Lenfest Center for the Arts, which opened in April 2017, was designed by Renzo Piano Building Architects, with Davis Brody Bond as executive architect, Body Lawson Associates as associate architect and James Corner Field Operations as landscape architect for the Small Square open space.

The building features multiple venues for Columbia University’s School of the Arts. The building includes four venues: the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, which is free and open to the public; the 150-seat Katharina Otto-Bernstein film screening room; a flexible performance space; and a presentation space for readings, symposia, and seminars.

A largely monolithic massing – dictated by the program needs – the Lenfest Center appears to levitate above the highly transparent ground floor lobby, which becomes visually continuous with the surrounding outdoor spaces. Like all new buildings on the Manhattanville campus, the transparent ground floor is designed to invite the community into the building – and in the case of the Lenfest Center, to partake in the building’s many opportunities available to the public including the exhibits at the Wallach Gallery.

A jury of independent architects, educators, critics, and planners from outside New York City convened at the Center for Architecture in early January to select the 32 winning projects of the 2018 AIA New York Design Awards. To qualify for an award, submitted projects had to be completed by AIANY members, architects/designers practicing in New York, or be New York projects designed by architects/designers based elsewhere. Twelve of the 32 winners are projects located in New York City.

The 32 selected projects and the architecture firms that designed them represent the exceptional work by AIA New York members and architects practicing in New York City in four categories: Architecture, Interiors, Projects, and Urban Design. Each winning project was chosen for its design quality, response to its context and community, program resolution, innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique. Recipients will be featured in AIA New York’s Oculus magazine and will be on view at the Center for Architecture’s 2018 AIANY Design Awards exhibition, opening April 20, 2018.

Founded in 1857, AIA New York’s members include over 5,000 practicing architects, allied professionals, students, and public members interested in architecture and design.

The AIA New York Merit Award is the second accolade that Columbia University earned for the Lenfest Center for the Arts. In late 2017, ENR New York awarded the Lenfest Center with a “Best Projects” honor in the Cultural/Worship category.