Site of 600 West 125th Street; Map data © 2019 Google
Columbia University this week filed plans to build a 34-story residential building in Harlem, as the school continues its campus expansion into the neighborhood. According to documents filed with the city’s Department of Buildings, the project at 600 West 125th Street, formerly home to a McDonald’s, would measure just under 400 feet tall and contain 142 apartments. But as Gothamist reported on Wednesday, local residents argue the plan breaks a longstanding promise from the university to redevelop a public school at the site.
, Thu, September 27, 2018
Left to right, Jerome L. Greene Science Center and The Forum. ©Frank Oudeman/Columbia University.
Sixteen years after Columbia University president Lee Bollinger announced the development of the school’s $6.3 billion 17-acre Manhattanville campus, he joined Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano to celebrate and unveil the third and final building of the starchitect’s ensemble in West Harlem. Previously, Piano completed the Jerome L. Greene Science Center and the adjacent Lenfest Center for the Arts, and today he marked the completion of the Forum, the ship-like structure that peaks at the triangular intersection of Broadway and West 125th Street. The 56,000-square-foot building will serve as a flexible meeting and conference hub, and like its siblings, was purposefully designed with a transparent, public ground floor surrounded by plazas.
See photos of the Forum
Back in 2004, Diller Scofidio + Renfro unveiled their proposal to build a new facility for the Eyebeam Atelier/Museum of Art and Technology. Their winning competition bid resembled the insides of a mitochondria dyed baby blue and blown up to an extreme proportion. DSR presented a more poetic explanation, referencing a pliable ribbon where horizontal surfaces turned into walls and vertical planes slouched into floors. The ribbon’s thin divide would separate the production spaces of the museum from the presentation areas.
The project was never realized, but fast forward 12 years, after the completion of the firms’ well-regarded Lincoln Center overhaul and three phases of the High Line, and DSR has dusted off their undulating ribbons for Columbia University. Now that their Columbia University Medical and Graduate Education Building is nearly complete, their next set of wiggles are planned for a pair of academic buildings at the University’s now-under construction Manhattanville campus in West Harlem. Amounting to 460,000 square feet of space, the two buildings will be separated by a central outdoor green space, and their insides will house classrooms, faculty offices, lounge areas, and support spaces for Columbia’s Graduate School of Business.
Lots more renderings and details ahead
On a triangular lot, where north-skewing West 125th Street meets West 129th Street, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) and Dattner Architects have crafted a 56,000-square-foot, ship-like structure for Columbia University’s Manhattanville Campus. Known as the University Forum and Academic Conference Center, the three-story building will host academic conferences, meetings, and symposia. It will contain a 430-seat auditorium, meeting rooms, and gathering spaces. According to Piano’s page, “The building looks like a ship levitating above the light and transparent Urban Layer.” Its prow points westward and may be just small enough to sail under the Riverside Drive Viaduct and into the Hudson River.
More details ahead
In the 18th century, Bloomingdale Road (today’s Broadway) connected the Upper West Side with the rest of the city. Unlike lower Manhattan, this area was still natural, with fertile soil and rolling landscapes, and before long, countryside villages began sprouting along the Hudson River. They were a combination of farms and grand estates and each functioned independently with their own schools and roads.
6sqft has uncovered the history of the five most prominent of these villages–Harsenville, Strycker’s Bay, Bloomingdale Village, Manhattanville, and Carmansville. Though markers of their names remain here and there, the original functions and settings of these quaint settlements have been long lost.
Find out the history of these lost villages