Lenfest Center for the Arts Rises to Its Top

Thursday, October 2, 2014

construction workers from the Iron Workers Local 40

Photo Credit: Eileen Barroso

Hundreds of construction workers raised the final steel beam to the top of the Lenfest Center for the Arts on Thursday October 2, with Columbia University representatives and executives of Lend Lease, the construction manager for the first phase of the Manhattanville development, cheering them on.  The “Topping Out” ceremony, which recognizes the completion of the steel at the building’s highest point, comes four months after steel erection commenced on the 53,000 square-foot building – the second building to rise at Columbia’s new Manhattanville campus.

Lend Lease applauded several construction workers from the Iron Workers Local 40 whose exceptional efforts and commitment to a safe working environment warranted extra attention at the event.

Safety continued as a theme for the day as speakers praised Columbia’s commitment to making a safe working environment the top priority at the site.  Notably, construction managers recognized the safety netting system initiated at the Manhattanville development, calling the innovative passive fall protection “the model for future commercial construction in New York City.”

Ultimately, the day was for the construction workers and celebrating their hard work.

“This milestone is a testament to the extraordinary teamwork of everyone involved, and in particular the hard work and dedication of the construction workers whose tireless efforts have brought this impactful project one step closer to reality,” said Philip Pitruzzello, Vice President, Manhattanville Development Group for Columbia University Facilities and Operations.  “For the Columbia community, we are seeing the highly anticipated new campus in Manhattanville take shape with the second building reaching its top height – this one thanks to Gerry Lenfest and the Lenfest family’s vision and commitment to the University and the arts.”

The eight-story Lenfest Center for the Arts, designed by Renzo Piano, was made possible through a $30 million gift from former University Trustee H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest (LAW'58, HON'09).  The building will contain the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, a state-of-the-art film screening room, a flexible performance space, and presentation space for readings, symposia, and seminars. 

The Lenfest Center for the Arts will stand prominently on a small public plaza on West 125th Street between Broadway and 12th Avenue, just west of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center which will house the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute for interdisciplinary neuroscience research.  The building is anticipated to open in late 2016.