Welcome to a New Urban Campus for the 21st Century

Columbia’s Manhattanville campus is designed to bring together a diversity of academic disciplines to address the great questions facing our society while welcoming the wider community to experience a shared space for civic life.

A Vision for the Future

Universities hold the possibility of making life better for the communities they call home, for the faculty and students who teach and learn there and for society at large. Today, universities remain vital engines of pioneering research and new ideas for addressing society's most urgent problems. The defining spirit of Columbia University is bound up in the pursuit of new knowledge and a constant reimagining of how to do things better. In Manhattanville, Columbia is reimagining what a 21st-century urban university can be.

The design of the new campus is informed by its historic New York City location, embracing the northern Manhattan street grid and the surrounding community—creating a campus enriched by West Harlem and interconnected with the cultural, artistic and economic life of adjoining neighborhoods.  Northern Manhattan has been Columbia's home for 120 years; our commitment to a shared future drove the development of a Manhattanville campus plan by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill that is the first such plan in the nation to win the U.S. Green Building Council's highest distinction for sustainability—LEED-ND Platinum.

Subway train crosses Jerome L. Greene Science Center building
© Renzo Piano Building Workshop (design architect) and Davis Brody Bond (executive architect), photo by Nic Lehoux

Arising in a onetime industrial area that in recent decades has been largely characterized by warehouses, parking lots and garages, the campus was made possible by a rezoning plan for academic and residential mixed uses overwhelmingly approved by New York City's Planning Commission and City Council in 2007. It includes more than 17 acres of property on the blocks from West 125th Street to 133rd Street between Broadway and 12th Avenue, as well as several properties on the east side of Broadway, from 131st to 134th Street. The local street grid, which will remain unchanged as part of the open campus plan, is defined by the distinctive northwesterly slant of the western-most blocks of 125th Street. As a result, at the southern end of the site, 125th Street intersects with 129th Street, creating a small triangle block that is also a key part of the campus design.

Above ground, both Broadway and 12th Avenue are distinguished by historic viaducts—the IRT number 1 subway line viaduct and the Riverside Drive viaduct—that provided inspiration for several of the new building designs.

Manhattanville open campus and Riverside Drive Viaduct
Manhattanville's open campus (left) and the Riverside Drive viaduct that inspired the design for the buildings.

The campus’s academic cornerstone, the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, is home to the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute that will join together scholars from across the University in interdisciplinary partnerships that will redefine the frontiers of neuroscience.  The Lenfest Center for the Arts will provide a variety of new spaces for Columbia's School of the Arts and Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, as well as a new West Harlem home for exhibitions, film screenings, performances, programs and creativity. In 2018, they will be joined by the The Forum and Academic Conference Center—all three buildings designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Soon to break ground will be a new home for Columbia Business School that will relocate from the Morningside Heights campus to the new Kravis and Perelman buildings designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. In between will be a landscaped one-acre green space, a welcoming amenity not only for the University community, but for the local community and general public as well.

Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger
This is a milestone for Columbia not only because we are building a future in our home community, but also because we’re doing so with the best urban planning principles and architectural designs that reflect both the shared values of city life and the fundamental need for a more sustainable society.Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger