Low Library 200 Level Lobby Historic Restoration and Repairs

View of Low Library ceiling. The ceiling is white with an ornate pattern. A lantern-like chandelier hangs from the ceiling center.

The building’s second level lobby is undergoing a historic restoration, including repairs to the decorative plaster ceiling and cleaning of the gilded column capitals, masonry, chandelier and light pendants.

This project was complete in 2020.

Project Updates

What is Happening

  • Scaffolding removal at Low Library 200-level main entrance and adjacent south ambulatory corridor began on Friday, February 28 at 6 p.m. and continued through the weekend. The main entryway and main entrance to the rotunda were closed off while the scaffolding was removed. This work was been coordinated with University Event Management.
  • Some painting and glazing finish applications will remain at the lower section of the walls with completion of this work anticipated in mid-April. This work will be conducted off of two temporary, moving scaffold platforms.
  • Paint colors were approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, based on a paint color analysis to reveal the building’s original palette – in keeping with restoration work at a landmark building.
  • Limestone column cleaning is continuing.
A person sits on the edge of scaffolding to apply gold decorative glazing to a wall panel. The person is wearing a red shirt, blue plants, and black gloves.
View of the white, ornate, restored ceiling. Where the ceiling meets the wall, there is marble crown molding. Beneath the crown molding are limestone columns and gold wall panels.

About the Project

Repairs and historic restoration of the lobby ceiling and walls at the second-floor entrance of Low Library are progressing on schedule, with completion of the ceiling and upper walls at the end of February 2020 and additional work at the lower section of the walls continuing until approximately mid-April.

For More Information

If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please call the Columbia University Facilities Services Center, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (212) 854-2222 or e-mail projx@columbia.edu (emails are responded to during regular business hours). Thank you for your patience as we complete this work.

What is Happening

  • Conservators are repairing, plastering, and priming walls in preparation for painting at the Low Library 200-level main entrance and adjacent south ambulatory corridor.
  • Painting and glazing of the upper areas of the walls. Paint colors approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, based on a paint color analysis to reveal the building’s original palette – in keeping with restoration work at a landmark building.
  • Cleaning of the limestone band below ceiling and masonry cleaning around doorways is complete. Cleaning of limestone columns is in progress.
  • Scaffolding removal scheduled for February 28 through March 3.  Some painting and glazing finish applications will remain at the lower section of the walls with completion of this work anticipated in mid-April. Work after March 3 will be conducted off of two temporary, moving scaffold platforms.
  • The work areas will be covered in plastic sheeting attached to the scaffolding and left in place while work is completed. The wall work areas will be limited to where there is currently scaffolding and will not include additional hallways.
  • GSAPP historic restoration class visited the project site on Feb. 12 for a first-hand look at the restoration process. 
A group of men and women stand in a group on scaffolding.

About the Project

Repairs and historic restoration of the lobby ceiling and walls at the second-floor entrance of Low Library are progressing on schedule, with anticipated completion of the ceiling and upper walls at the end of February 2020.  Additional work at the lower section of the walls to continue until approximately mid-April.

The work requires conservators performing at a high-level of detail and meticulousness to ensure that the restoration is in keeping with the historic intent of the landmarked building.

For More Information

If you have any questions or concerns about this work, please call the Columbia University Facilities Services Center, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (212) 854-2222 or e-mail projx@columbia.edu (emails are responded to during regular business hours). Thank you for your patience as we complete this work.

What is Happening

  • Conservators are repairing, plastering, and priming walls in preparation for painting at the Low Library 200-level main entrance and adjacent south ambulatory corridor. Ongoing work also includes cleaning and restoring marble door frames within the project area.
  • Additional scaffolding modification to occur tomorrow (Saturday, January 25) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to add platforms above the main entrance doorway and at both ends of the ambulatory.  After further review on site, the main platform below the ceiling will remain until the project’s conclusion to facilitate safer access for the contractor.
  • The work areas will be covered in plastic sheeting attached to the scaffolding and left in place while work is completed. The wall work areas will be limited to where there is currently scaffolding and will not include additional hallways.
  • The restoration work continues to befit the historic landmark building, including a detailed cleaning of the marble door frame of the Trustees Room and an area of the lobby wall that has been repaired and primed for painting.

About the Project

Repairs and historic restoration of the lobby ceiling and walls at the second-floor entrance of Low Library are progressing on schedule, with anticipated completion the end of February 2020.

The work requires conservators performing at a high-level of detail and meticulousness to ensure that the restoration is in keeping with the historic intent of the landmarked building.

For More Information

If you have any questions or concerns about this work, please call the Columbia University Facilities Services Center, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (212) 854-2222 or e-mail projx@columbia.edu (emails are responded to during regular business hours). Thank you for your patience as we complete this work.

What is Happening

  • Conservators have substantially completed repairs and restoration to the ceiling of the 200-level main entrance, restoring the ornate plaster ceiling befitting of this historic landmark building and centerpiece of Columbia’s Morningside campus.
  • On Saturday, January 11, workers modified the scaffolding to support the repairs, plastering, and painting of the walls at the main entrance and adjacent south ambulatory corridor. The scaffolding footprint will remain the same, but platforms will be limited to the perimeter walls. The repaired and restored ceiling will be visible and on display for all to see after these scaffolding modifications are complete.
  • The wall restoration work will be performed through January into February. The work areas will be covered in plastic sheeting attached to the scaffolding and left in place while work is completed. The wall work areas will be limited to where there is currently scaffolding and will not include additional hallways.
A wide view of the completed repairs and restoration to the ornate plaster ceiling.
A close-up view of a section of the repaired and restored ornate plaster ceiling.
A gilded bronze column capital cleaned and restored.

For More Information

If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please call the Columbia University Facilities Services Center, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (212) 854-2222 or e-mail projx@columbia.edu (emails are responded to during regular business hours). Thank you for your patience as we complete this work.

Update

  • On Monday, December 30 and Tuesday, December 31, conservators applied paint to the ceiling currently under repair on the 200 level of Low Library. The painting was isolated to the work area and took place during the daytime and evening hours. Additional paint applications were applied on Friday, January 3 and Saturday, January 4 if needed. 
  • The conservators used a latex, water-based paint, identical to a common household paint. An air scrubber was used to help dissipate any remaining odors but building occupants may notice a trace odor from these applications.
  • Additional painting will take place at a future date. We will notify building occupants prior to additional paint applications.
An image shows a before and after picture of a wooden door and it's marble frame.

About the Project

Repairs and historic restoration of the lobby ceiling and walls at the second-floor entrance of Low Library are progressing on schedule, with anticipated completion in February 2020.

The work requires conservators performing at a high-level of detail and meticulousness to ensure that the restoration is in keeping with the historic intent of the landmarked building.

For More Information

If you have any questions or concerns about this work, please call the Columbia University Facilities Services Center, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (212) 854-2222 or e-mail projx@columbia.edu (emails are responded to during regular business hours). Thank you for your patience as we complete this work.

What is Happening

On Saturday, December 14, conservators applied the primer paint to the ceiling currently under repair on the 200 level of Low Library. They used a latex, water-based paint, identical to a common household paint. The painting was isolated to the work area, and an air scrubber was used during application and left running for the remainder of the weekend to help dissipate any remaining odors. Building occupants may notice a trace odor on Monday, if any at all.

Additional painting will take place at a future date. We will notify building occupants prior to additional paint applications.

About the Project

Repairs and historic restoration of the lobby ceiling and walls at the second-floor entrance of Low Library are progressing on schedule, with anticipated completion in February 2020.

The work requires conservators performing at a high-level of detail and meticulousness to ensure that the restoration is in keeping with the historic intent of the landmarked building.

For More Information

If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please call the Columbia University Facilities Services Center, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (212) 854-2222 or e-mail projx@columbia.edu (emails are responded to during regular business hours). Thank you for your patience as we complete this work.

Ongoing Work

Repairs and historic restoration of the lobby ceiling and walls at the second-floor entrance of Low Library are progressing on schedule, with anticipated completion in February 2020.

The work requires conservators performing at a high-level of detail and meticulousness to ensure that the restoration is in keeping with the historic intent of the landmarked building.

A rectangular section has from the ornate plaster ceiling has been removed.
View of aging and browned ornate plaster ceilings with strips of blue painter's tape marking certain sections.
A gilded bronze column capital with tape labels marking sections.

Looking Ahead

The following work is expected to take place in the weeks ahead:

  • Repairs to cracks in plaster will be continuing.
  • Color board and mockups for ceilings and walls to determine a final finish consistent with historic intent.
  • Priming the ceiling.  This work will take place after hours.  There will be some odor associated with this work.  We will provide a more detailed update about this work prior to it taking place.
  • Quiet work will continue to be performed during daytime hours, reserving evenings and overnights for louder and more disruptive work.  Completion is anticipated in February 2020.

For More Information

If you have any questions or concerns about this work, please call the Columbia University Facilities Services Center, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (212) 854-2222 or e-mail projx@columbia.edu (emails are responded to during regular business hours). Thank you for your patience as we complete this work.