March 8, 2022
Columbia’s New Business School Favors Context and Well-Being Over Ostentation
“While the design of each of the buildings is distinct, the two, like siblings, share a DNA unique to CBS,” Renfro explains. Though the Hudson River and Hudson Viaduct-facing Henry R. Kravis Hall features a more organic design—achieved with form-work gypsum and GFRC panels that extend from the exterior to the interior—the David Geffen Hall is more angular in profile. While the former focuses on a more intimate program of small study rooms, the latter benefits from a stacked massing with cantilevered and cornered levels that can accommodate larger classrooms. “They share the same kit of materials and overall program, but one has a layer cake pop-out facade that is recessed in the other,” Renfro adds. It’s easy to see activity from one building to the other, which plays into Diller Scofidio + Renfro and FXCollaborative emphasis on student wellness. “They’ll spend most of their time here and we wanted to make sure it’s a good experience,” says Smith, “The ample use of daylighting and a warm but mute material palette were important parts of getting that across.”
More from Metropolis
CBS is the latest addition to Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s 8-million-square-foot Manhattanville campus masterplan. This new development champions a more inclusive agenda, avoiding the pitfalls of Columbia’s original Beaux-Arts Campus that cuts the institution off from Broadway and the surrounding Morningside neighborhood. Per the master plan, each building on the Manhattanville campus must feature ground-level public spaces to better integrate within the community. Joining the Square will be a line of street-facing retail spaces embedded within Kravis Hall and adjoining the 12th avenue-adjacent plaza developed for farmer’s markets. Rather than feature large austere stone walls and barriers, this campus puts the literal and metaphoric principle of transparency front and center.
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