New Outdoor Seating Amenities Meet Demand for Outdoor Dining and Community Use

November 19, 2020

With 160,000 square feet of green space on the Morningside campus, the Columbia community is accustomed in the best of times to enjoy spending time outdoors.  To help encourage the use of outdoor space – now more important due to the pandemic – Campus Operations has installed new outdoor seating amenities throughout the Morningside campus. 

The new seating options help address increased demand from the Columbia community during the pandemic for outdoor spaces to support dining, studying, and academic use.  As outdoor seating has been growing in popularity in recent years, it seemed natural to Campus Operations to continue efforts at this time in expanding outdoor seating to adapt to the community’s unique needs. 

Seating installations began in June 2020 with new seating areas created at the International Affairs Building terrace, Revson Plaza, and East Campus, and additional seating placed at existing locations at Mudd, Havemeyer, and Fairchild.  Recognizing the importance of having comfortable outdoor seating amidst the park-like setting of campus, Campus Operations wanted to provide a space that would allow the community to reconnect with nature. The new furnishings are intended to serve the environment, rather than dominate it, and complement the landscape architecture.  Seating will be available to use year-round. 

Black cafe tables and chairs line the International Affairs Building terrace.

As part of an ongoing effort to encourage open space use, Campus Operations also erected new outdoor tents at Ancell Plaza, Dodge Plaza, Fairchild Plaza, and Hamilton Lawn to facilitate small gatherings during the 2020-21 academic year.   In addition, outdoor spaces remain available for open-air community use, including South Lawn, Philosophy Lawn, Van Am Quad, and more. 

The new outdoor space options support the University’s reopening efforts to provide access to outdoor spaces, based on current health guidance that activities held outdoors – with health and safety guidelines followed – are safest. 

The Columbia community is required to follow the University’s Health Compact while using outdoor spaces, including wearing a face covering and maintaining six feet of distance between others.