Columbia Business School adds new ‘layer cake’ style glass buildings

Two new buildings are now part of Columbia Business School’s campus in Manhattanville neighborhood, N.Y., both designed in a layer cake format, with a system of varied glass exterior walls to align with different programming needs, let in natural light, and views of the city, and foster creativity, innovation, and communication.

The architectural team behind the project comprised of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and FXCollaborative—the latter also worked as the sustainability/ LEED consultant. Arup worked in the capacity of the structural engineer, exterior envelope, and façade consultant.

Associate Architect (Dedicated Dining, Multi-Function Room): Aaris Design Studios, as associate architect, provided services for the dedicated dining spaces, and multi-function rooms. Buro Happold collaborated as mechanical engineer, while Turner Construction supervised the construction as the manager. Another collaborator was Stantec Consultants as the civil engineer.

One of the buildings, part of the 45,709-m2 (492,000 sf) expansion, is the 11-story Henry R. Kravis Hall, and the other one is the eight-story David Geffen Hall. Both buildings are built to provide a view to outsiders of the activities inside. In Kravis Hall student floors, the central space in the building acting as a “connective tissue”, called the Network—featuring a staircase connecting different areas of the building—and ground floor spaces utilize transparent glass exteriors inset from the edge of the floor plate, while faculty floors utilize fritted glass. Each building façade features a custom curtainwall system and is regularized based on the geometry of the exterior building form. Geffen Hall’s glass envelope is treated with a gradient from opaque to transparent, each panel having a bespoke and carefully calculated frit pattern.

In Kravis Hall’s structure “skip truss” steel framing utilized on alternating faculty floors keeps open student floors with nearly column-free classrooms, as well as the building’s layered, textured form. Spiraling, sculptural circulation stairs in Kravis Hall and Geffen Hall double as vertical elements of the structure while fostering interactions between users and providing panoramic views over the campus and New York City.

Sustainability-wise, the use of low-VOC materials, flushout before occupancy, increased ventilation rates, and outdoor air monitoring ensures high indoor air quality. Materials were specified with high percentages of recycled content from regional sources. Most of the wood was sourced from sustainably managed forests. The building enclosure has been developed to protect against unwanted glare, and the white frit blocks harmful solar heat gain. The cooling and heating systems utilize chilled beam technology for user comfort and reduced energy consumption and low-velocity underfloor distribution in the tiered classrooms. High efficiency plumbing fixtures are used to reduce potable water demand.

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