Renzo Piano Designs Columbia University Expansion

Columbia University is set to unveil two new buildings in a campus expansion designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.

The new campus, located in the Manhattanville (or West Harlem) neighborhood in New York, is the university’s largest expansion in 100 years. Columbia hopes that the Manhattanville expansion will allow for a greater integration of the university and the New York City community.

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Piano, who designed the buildings with “the DNA of West Harlem” in mind, is a world famous architect whose structures can be found in Paris, London, Sydney, and all corners of New York City. He says the design of the buildings, which are mostly glass and feature windows instead of walls, is meant to promote “openness, transparency, and accessibility”, enhancing Columbia’s vision of increased interconnectedness between the university and the community.

Columbia’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, said the Manhattanville expansion is a significant milestone for Columbia “not only because we are building a future in our home community, but also because we’re doing so with the best urban planning principles and architectural designs that reflect both the shared values of city life and the fundamental need for a more sustainable society.” The campus opens to students April 22. 

-Maggie Utter

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