New Columbia Business School Buildings Receive Prestigious Design Award from AIA New York

January 26, 2023

Columbia University’s new Business School buildings at the Manhattanville campus were recognized with an Honor Award in the Architecture category from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York, the highest level of achievement granted as part of the organization’s 2023 Design Awards program.

Columbia Business School, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with executive architect FXCollaborative and associate architect Aaris Design Studios, is comprised of 492,000 square feet across two buildings. The layer-cake design of the eleven-story Henry R. Kravis Hall, located on the west side adjacent to Twelfth Avenue, and of the eight-story David Geffen Hall, located on the east side of The Square, is organized around three distinct networks of circulation that connect all levels through stairs that carve through each building, bringing daylight and air into the center of the deep floor plates. This connective tissue links technologically advanced classrooms, multifunctional spaces, lounges, dining facilities, and study rooms for the Business School community to gather and exchange ideas, forming them into a new type of continuous academic space that touches every floor.

A stairwell that goes through a floor with conference rooms at David Geffen Hall.

To express this interweaving of student, faculty, and administrative spaces, the student floors, network staircases, and ground-floor spaces in Henry R. Kravis Hall have transparent glass exteriors inset from the edge of the floor plate, while faculty floors have fritted glass. In addition, Geffen Hall’s glass envelope is treated with a gradient from opaque to transparent, with each panel having a bespoke and carefully calculated frit pattern.

Structural solutions designed in collaboration with Arup support the architectural concept of both buildings. In Henry R. Kravis Hall, “skip truss” steel framing on alternating faculty floors supports open student floors with nearly column-free classrooms and the building’s layered, textured form. Spiraling, sculptural circulation stairs in both Henry R. Kravis and David Geffen Halls double as vertical elements of the structure while fostering interactions among users and providing panoramic views over the campus and New York City. Knowing that students and faculty will spend long hours in the building, a particular emphasis has been placed on the quality of the indoor environment, especially air, light, thermal comfort, and materials.

A classroom within Henry R. Kravis Hall.

In between the two buildings is a 40,000 square-foot public green space called The Square, designed by James Corner Field Operations, which offers flexible and collaborative space for outdoor gatherings, lectures, meetings, and performances.

AIA New York’s annual Design Awards program honors projects by AIA New York members, New York City-based architects in any location, and work located in New York City by architects around the globe that demonstrate design ingenuity in the resolution of formal, functional, and technical requirements. A jury of esteemed practitioners convened at the Center for Architecture in early January to announce the winning projects. An exhibition showcasing the recognized work from 2023 Design Awards winners will be displayed at the Center for Architecture, which opens May 4, 2023. Winning projects will also be recognized at the Honors and Awards Luncheon on April 20, 2023 at Cipriani Wall Street.

Founded in 1857, AIA New York is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The chapter is comprised of over 5,000 practicing architects, allied professionals, students, and public members interested in architecture and design.

Columbia Business School is the third new building constructed at the Manhattanville campus to receive an accolade from AIA. Lenfest Center for the Arts and The Forum received Merit awards from AIA New York in 2018 and 2019, respectively, for distinguished architectural design.