Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center . New York

Diller Scofidio + Renfro . photos: © Nic Lehoux

The design weaves together areas for study and other activities that are important in a 21st-century university building.

It features technology-enabled classrooms; a state-of-the-art medical simulation center that will replicate clinics, operating rooms and other real world medical environments; innovative learning facilities for both collaboration and quiet study; an auditorium and event areas with integrated technology; centralized student support services; student lounges and cafés; and multiple purpose outdoor spaces, including a terrace with views of the Hudson River.
The “Study Cascade” is the principle design strategy of the building – a network of social and study spaces distributed across oversized landings along an intricate 14-story stair. The Study Cascade creates a single interconnected space the height of the building, stretching from the ground floor lobby to the top of the building, and conducive to collaborative, team-based learning and teaching. The “Study Cascade” interiors are complemented by a distributed network of south-facing outdoor “rooms” and terraces that are clad with cement panels and wood. While the “Study Cascade” provides an organizational strategy for the building’s interior, it is also an urban gesture that, with its glass façade, aims to become a visual landmark at the northern limit of Columbia University’s medical campus. The northern face of the building houses space for classrooms, clinical simulation and administration and support.

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