Columbia unveils Diller Scofidio-designed medical center in Washington Heights

June 27, 2012 03:00PM

Columbia University has unveiled plans for its medical center’s new education building in Washington Heights, the New York Times reported. The university tapped architecture firms Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Gensler to design the 14-story tower planned for Haven Avenue between West 171st and West 172nd streets. The result is a tower with a wide base that slopes inward with each higher floor. The southern side of the building’s exteriors will be exposed through a transparent glass facade.

“It’s like a vertical landscape, a vertical living room,” said Elizabeth Diller, one of the firm’s principals. “For us it was a great opportunity to think about an educational building that had a different kind of logic and take advantage of a fantastically small footprint.”

Construction will begin in early 2013 and should be completed in three and a half years, the Times said. The building wil include an auditorium, event areas, student lounges, cafes and outdoor spaces.

The New York Observer noted that the design project marks a rare vertical one for DS+R, which typically focuses on designing cultural venues such as the High Line and Lincoln Center. [NYT] and [NYO]