The 100,000-square-foot glass tower was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the same firm that designed the new Lincoln Center remodeling and the High Line. It's a south-facing undulating pillar of glass and steel with a 11,500-square-foot footprint that tapers to 5,000 square feet as it reaches its apex.
"In addition to serving as the principal design element for the building, the transparent façade of the study cascade is designed to serve as a visual landmark at the northern limit of Columbia University’s medical campus," reads a public release about the project.
The new construction will replace an existing five-story residential building at 104 Haven Ave., between West 171st and 172nd streets, that is owned by the school and now houses medical faculty.
University officials said the school’s goal is to give 30 to 35 percent of its construction-related contracts and jobs to minority, women and locally-owned businesses. They also touted the job-creation opportunities, including work in the medical simulation lab, facilities, offices and maintenance units, that will be available for locals seeking employment. The school is already the neighborhood's largest employer.
Although the building is for student use, the southern courtyard that overlooks the Hudson River will be accessible to the public at any time, according to school officials. Indoor space, including a 300-person auditorium, will be accessible for the community when booked through the community affairs arm of the school.
The school plans to launch a website and hotline dedicated to the construction, as it has for its Baker Field Athletic Complex construction in Inwood, within three weeks.
School officials said they will be sensitive to community needs during construction and scaled back its daily construction schedule to begin at 8 a.m., instead of the city’s permissible construction start time of 7 a.m. in order to "be more commensurate with sleep patterns."
The school has also created "comprehensive constructions practices," taking into consideration noise, dust, run-off from the site, and emissions mitigation, school officials said.
Approximately nine trees will be removed to make way for the new building and layout, but school officials said trees, which will act as wind buffers from currents that come in along the Hudson River, would play a prominent role in the landscape as will new plantings along the southern lawn.