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From On High, Columbia's Copper Rooftops Are Highlight of the Neighborhood

By Emily Frost | October 20, 2016 3:31pm | Updated on October 21, 2016 5:40pm

Photo credit: Daily Overview | Image (c) 2016, DigitalGlobe, Inc.
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MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — The vastness of Columbia University can be felt walking around the campus — its buildings and housing span more than 20 city blocks — but its unique footprint really shows when seen from above. 

Originally known as King's College, which fans of the musical "Hamilton" will know, the school became Columbia University in 1896. In that year it moved to Morningside Heights, where it now occupies 32 acres. 

From above, the turquoise copper rooftops of the main college campus stand out in their brightness, set off even more by the surrounding red-brick walkways. The eye is drawn to the center of the campus and the circular roof of Low Memorial Library. 

The library, with its domed roof set inside a square, intentionally resembles the Pantheon in Rome. Charles Follen McKim, of the design firm McKim, Mead & White, created it using neoclassical design principles that were popular at the end of the 19th century. 

While students are drawn by the lure of an urban campus, this view also shows how much Columbia University is surrounded by trees, hugged by Riverside and Morningside parks. 

Yet the density of the campus can also be seen, with buildings taking up almost every open space, save for the central quads. 

The low-lying buildings are a far cry from the skyscrapers of Midtown — evidence of the campus' residential neighborhood feel. 

Neighborhood Portrait is a collection of images that captures the uniqueness and beauty of our neighborhoods. In addition to photos from our neighborhood reporters, we’ve partnered with Daily Overview to showcase their unique satellite photography. You can sign up to receive more stunning photos from the Neighborhood Portrait series delivered directly to your inbox.