The campus in the Manhattanville area (i.e. West Harlem) was conceived by Columbia University back in 2003, construction work began in the late 2000s, the masterplan was developed by RPBW with the participation of SOM. As a result, it will occupy about 7 hectares of the former industrial zone. Other campuses of the university are located in the neighborhood: to the south, in Morningside Heights, and to the north, in Washington Heights.
The first phase of the project, completed this year, includes three buildings designed by Renzo Piano - the Jerome L. Green Science Center, Lenfest Arts Center, Forum - and Small Square. All three buildings received a permeable ground floor that connects them with the life of the city around them, as well as a program for the townspeople. The first two buildings include the Educational Laboratory for Harlem students and adults of all ages, a Health Center with a staff of university doctors for prophylactic medical examinations and educating local residents, and the Wallek Gallery, which has now moved to the new campus, where exhibitions of Harlem artists or relevant exhibitions are now held. parts of the city theme.
In the "Forum", designed for communication and interaction of people, on the ground floor there is a lobby, a cafe where anyone can drink coffee, read a book, chat and use Wi-Fi, as well as a "program" space where exhibitions and any other public events - both university and local associations. Above is an auditorium with 437 seats, meeting rooms and offices of researchers dealing with socially important issues.
"Forum" occupies a corner, triangular area and resembles a ship rushing forward. The auditorium is concealed by precast concrete panels; the rest of the facades are mostly glazed.