Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hi-Tech Glass Tower Slated for Columbia Medical Campus

Columbia University Medical Center announced plans for a new, state-of-the-art medical and graduate education building on its campus in Washington Heights. The new building, with a design led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler Architects, is a 14-story glass tower that incorporates technologically advanced classrooms, collaboration spaces, and a modern simulation center. Construction is expected to begin early this year and will take approximately 42 months to complete.

The building will become an important landmark to the skyline of Northern Manhattan – as it will be visible from the nearby George Washington Bridge and Riverside Park. Construction of the new building is supported a September 2010 gift of $50 million from Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, M.D., the former chairman and CEO of Merck & Co, and an alumnus of Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The Medical and Graduate Education Building incorporates green design and building techniques that will create a welcoming environment and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the entire neighborhood.

The University is planning the building to meet LEED-Gold standards for sustainability. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a national design standard for green buildings and sustainability, which is administered by the United States Green Building Council.

Located on existing Columbia property on Haven Avenue between West 171st and West 172nd Streets, the Medical and Graduate Education Building will be used by students from all four Columbia University Medical Center schools (College of Physicians and Surgeons, College of Nursing, College of Dental Medicine and the Mailman School of Public Health), and the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

The high-tech medical simulation center, which will allow hands-on learning in realistic settings, will transform the way Columbia University trains health professionals in medicine, dentistry, and nursing, as well as how practicing physicians maintain their clinical skills and learn new techniques.

A terrace with views of the Hudson River will be incorporated into the new building.

The formal learning space will have state-of-the-art electronics that facilitate the delivery of information to students. In addition, there will be space where the students can informally interact and work as teams – reflecting our new curriculum, which emphasizes team-based learning. In addition, there will be space to relax and have coffee. It will incorporate every aspect of medical and graduate education – updated in a modern, environmentally responsible way.

A new auditorium and event areas with integrated technology; centralized student support services; student lounges and cafés; and multiple-purpose outdoor spaces, including a terrace with views of the Hudson River, will be incorporated into the new building. The design centralizes all social and public spaces in a vertical stack at the south face of the building. This continuous space features a multi-story glass facade that maximizes light and offers exceptional views to the south.

Outdoor gathering spaces and terraces that are clad in cement panels, wood, and other materials complement the interiors of the study cascade – a system of special alcoves reserved for social interaction.

In addition to serving as the principal design element for the building, the transparent façade of the study cascade is designed to serve as a visual landmark at the northern limit of Columbia University’s medical campus. The northern face of the building houses space for classrooms, clinical simulation and administrative space.

For more than two centuries, Columbia University has been a premier destination for medical education, training generations of outstanding physicians and scientists. It was the first medical school in the United States to award the M.D. degree in 1770. The new building is intended to keep Columbia at the forefront of innovations in medical and graduate science education.