Columbia University Receives Outstanding Project Award for ESPORTS Room

October 27, 2023

Columbia University earned an Outstanding Project Award from Learning by Design for the renovation of the Walter and Shirley Fan Wang ESPORTS Room in Wallach Hall. The award was received in the “University Renovation” category as part of Learning by Design’s Fall 2023 Architectural Interior Design Awards of Excellence competition which honors innovative and effective projects in K-12 and post-secondary education facilities across the country.

Designed by Desai Chia Architecture, the Wang ESPORTS Room is a state-of-the-art venue – and first of its kind in the Ivy League – to support electronic gaming on campus. Through collaboration between the Columbia ESPORTS Club, CUIT, and partners throughout Facilities and Operations, the 1,200 square-foot former student lounge was transformed into a flexible venue that could be arranged in a variety of configurations ranging from individual or team play to tournaments. The classic architectural detailing of the space was retained and enhanced with contemporary design elements, including a suspended light installation by visual artist Christine Sciulli to provide an immersive gaming experience.

Two structures in the space, the "Brain” and the “Blade,” organize the room and its technology. The Brain serves as a central electronics hub housing high-performance computer equipment, A/V equipment, and lighting controls along with a dedicated 8-ton HVAC unit for supplemental cooling. Six PC gaming stations and lounge seating for console gaming are on either side of the Brain. The Blade, an independent structure opposite the Brain, has 12 additional PC gaming stations that can be configured for multiple game uses. The space in between the Brain and Blade can be used to support informal gaming and has a video wall for streaming and events.

Prior to the renovation, esports activities were spread out on campus in individual dorm rooms or campus spaces. A donation from University Trustee Shirley Wang BUS’93 and Walter Wang to nurture the undergraduate community created a central location for undergraduate students to connect over video games and foster connections. Since opening in September 2023, the Wang ESPORTS Room has welcomed over 1,300 students.

To learn more and reserve the ESPORTS Room, visit the Event Management site.