Columbia School of The Arts Building

Status: Preliminary Studies Underway; Construction Not Imminent

Columbia has decided to build a new home for its School of The Arts. It has engaged the avant-garde firm of Sharples, Holden, Pasquarelli to design one on the current site of Prentiss Hall, an adjacent garage, and 560 Riverside Drive. The existing buildings, with the exception of the uninteresting garage, will remain. The project will add 50,000 square feet to the existing 50,000 in Prentis Hall, pictured at bottom right. Prentis Hall was originally built as a milk bottling plant and currently houses miscellaneous Columbia functions. Very little is yet known about this project, but the architects are former proteges of Bernard Tschumi, architect of the much-hyped local flop Lerner Hall, and one of the principals teaches architecture at Columbia. Still, SHoP have promised to behave themselves, contextually speaking, and community groups in DUMBO in Brooklyn, where they did an apartment tower, say nice things about them.

The somewhat puzzling drawings below show the atrium and circulation patterns for the proposed building. It would seem that the architects intend to carve an atrium out of the core of Prentiss Hall and that the principal entrance to the new building will be from Riverside Drive by way of a connecting link running at the podium level of 560 Riverside. Both drawings appear to be looking west. The grey matter is the left drawing is so much architect's fluff; the actual structure is the orange stuff. Columbia apparently hasn't yet secured the funding to build this thing, so construction is not expected any time soon. Still, having a design to show donors probably helps them raise money, so they are going ahead with this aspect of the project.

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