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The Architecture Behind Columbia's Manhattanville Ambitions

A new campus has a mandate to better connect the institution to the world, but its presence has left neighbors asking, “What about us?”
Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the glass, metal panel, and concrete buildings form most of the first phase of Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus. Ultimately, 6.8 million square feet costing $6.5 billion will rise on 17 acres in a narrow valley just a few blocks north of its main campus in Morningside Heights.
Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the glass, metal panel, and concrete buildings form most of the first phase of Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus. Ultimately, 6.8 million square feet costing $6.5 billion will rise on 17 acres in a narrow valley just a few blocks north of its main campus in Morningside Heights.Frank Oudeman/Columbia University

A technologically exhibitionist trio of buildings now line up along Harlem’s West 125th Street. Sandwiched between elevated subway tracks and the Riverside Drive viaduct, veils of ultra-clear glass hang outside a science laboratory and muscular steel beams and slim cables hoist a skinny arts tower in the air.

Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the glass, metal panel, and concrete buildings form most of the first phase of Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus. Ultimately, 6.8 million square feet costing $6.5 billion will rise on 17 acres in a narrow valley just a few blocks north of the main campus, which presides from Morningside Heights.