The new campus of Columbia University in upper Manhattan has received a new addition, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW). Renzo Piano collaborated with architecture firm SOM to design the Art School’s off-white building to be the second constructed building in the university’s new Manhattanville campus. Photographer Yueqi Jazzy Li has captured the new building in a set of photos which were released by Dezeen.
The facilities of the Lensvelt Center for the Arts are to be used by Columbia University’s School of the Arts. The center, which is all clad in white Aluminum, embraces arts, theater, and film as well as the Wallach Art Gallery, which was relocated to be accessible by the public. It was completed along with Jerome L Greene Science Center, during Phase 1 of the new campus development, and opened near the end of last year.
Inspired by Monolithic Architecture, the four double-height floors were stacked on top of each other. The upper two floors were cantilevered over the two bottom ones creating a balcony in the area below.
The top floor is dedicated to music, reading, events, exhibitions, and symposiums, while the floor below serves as the main gallery. The two bottom floors enclose a 99-seat versatile area as well as a 150-seat cinema.
Tall narrow windows between the cladding provide views to the interior. The glass walls enclosing the bottom floor are intended for a more dynamic interaction between the public and the activities within.
“In addition to providing views to the exterior, these windows also allow pedestrians to glimpse activity within the building, especially at night, reinforcing the participation of this building with the surrounding city,” explained RPBW.
The interior of the building is brightly colored, in contrast with the off-white exterior. Shades and mechanical blinds are used to control the inflow of daylight and block the southern light.
“In contrast with the off-white color of the cladding panels, certain components visible from outside hold joyful colors, such as the elevator cabs, the stair walls, the exterior side of the theater’s blackout shade, and some millwork components,” said RPBW.
Two more of Piano’s designs will be built in the new campus, including the School of International and Public Affairs and the Forum, which will be home to a 430-seat auditorium, university offices, and meeting rooms. It is planned to be completed in 2018.