Columbia Business School Advances to Finals in Prestigious Prix Versailles World Architecture and Design Competition

November 02, 2023

Columbia University’s new Business School buildings – Henry R. Kravis Hall and David Geffen Hall – have been selected as finalists in the World Selections of the Prix Versailles competition in the campus category.

The esteemed annual architectural competition recognizes contemporary projects around the world for design principles the United Nations holds in high regards, including innovation, creativity, sustainability, social interactivity, and cultural reflectivity.

Columbia Business School spans 492,000 square feet across two buildings, Henry R. Kravis Hall and David Geffen Hall. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FXCollaborative, the new buildings invert the typical organization of building populations by shuffling alternating floors of faculty and administrative offices with student learning spaces, fostering an environment to gather and exchange ideas. The School’s collaborative spaces are organized around intersecting vertical networks of circulation and collaborative learning environments which create a continuous space of constant vibrant interaction.

Engagement with the city and surrounding West Harlem community is fundamental to Columbia Business School’s design. Henry R. Kravis Hall features Samberg Commons, an urban-scale living room with tiered, undulating seating for breakout meetings, lunch, and studying, as well as micro retail spaces available on the ground floor to support local entrepreneurs. David Geffen Hall is home to Cooperman Commons, an auditorium that acts as a day-to-day gathering space and can host large-scale events, and a public café.  In between the buildings is The Square, a 40,000 square-foot public green space that can hold outdoor gatherings, lectures, meetings, and performances, and is equipped with Wi-Fi and power outlets to provide technology and power connectivity for the community. 

Similar to other new buildings constructed at the Manhattanville campus, Columbia Business School earned LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The project received the rating by utilizing a wide range of sustainable construction and design strategies, including leveraging site advantages, optimizing energy performance, improving indoor air quality, and more.

Columbia Business School is among five finalists selected by Prix Versailles in the campus category. Other finalists include the Battersea campus at the Royal College of Art; Centre of Excellence at DY Patil University; Echo at Delft University of Technology; Founders Hall at University of Washington; and Science Complex at Wellesley College. The winner will be announced in mid-December.