Columbia Business School



Columbia Business School’s new home spans approximately 492,000 square feet across two buildings that reflect the fast-paced, high-tech, and highly social character of business in the 21st century. The two new facilities, Henry R. Kravis Hall and David Geffen Hall, double the School’s current square footage, creating multifunctional spaces that foster a sense of community—spaces where students, faculty, alumni, and practitioners can gather to exchange ideas. The design of both buildings recognizes that creativity, innovation, and communication—skills often nurtured in informal environments—are as crucial to business school pedagogy as the traditional, quantitative skills taught in a classroom.

The building organization shuffles alternating floors of faculty offices with student learning spaces in the eleven-story Henry R. Kravis Hall and floors for administrative offices and learning spaces in the eight-story David Geffen Hall. The resultant layer-cake design is expressed in each building’s façade with systems tailored to the interior program. The school’s internal spaces are organized around intersecting networks of circulation and collaborative learning environments that extend up vertically through each building, linking spaces of teaching, socializing, and studying, to create a continuous space of learning and interaction that remains vibrant 24 hours a day.

Engagement with the city and surrounding West Harlem community is a fundamental aspect of the new Columbia Business School’s design. Henry R. Kravis Hall offers 360degrees of exposure and proximity to the Hudson River. At the same time, David Geffen Hall establishes a strong connection to the urban fabric of the neighborhood and the mid-block pedestrian axis of the Manhattanville master plan. Every classroom provides a view of the city and landscape. The two buildings also welcome in the community, including a new dedicated space on the second floor of David Geffen Hall for the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center that will build on the school’s ten-year history of supporting local entrepreneurs. A 40,000 square-foot public park and new retail spaces—including a café featuring local products—also connect Columbia Business School more closely with the surrounding neighborhood.

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Project information
Size (GSF)492000LocationNew York, United States
groundbreaking2016Commission2011Topping Out2019
PartnersCharles Renfro,Elizabeth Diller,Benjamin Gilmartin,and Ricardo Scofidio
Project DirectorsAlberto Cavallero and Miles Nelligan
Project ArchitectsChris Andreacola and Sean Gallagher
Design TeamRyan Neiheiser,Erica Goetz,Travis Fitch,Mark Gettys,Jess Austin,Amber Foo,Emily Vo Nguyen,Olen Milholland,Oskar Arnorsson,Mian Ye,Sabri Farouki,Patrick Ngo,Ebbie Wisecarver,and Quy Le
External credits
Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FXCollaborativeArchitects
FXCollaborativeSustainability/LEED Consultant
ArupStructural Engineer, Exterior Envelope & Façade Consultant
Aaris Design Studios (Partner-in-Charge: Nicole Hollant-Denis)Associate Architect (Dedicated Dining, Multi-Function Room)
Buro HappoldMechanical Engineer
Turner ConstructionConstruction Manager
United Spinal Association's Accessibility ServicesAccessibility Consultant
Tillotson Design AssociatesLighting Design
Cerami & AssociatesAcoustics
Van Deusen and AssociatesVertical Transportation
Stantec ConsultantsCivil Engineering
Cerami & Associates, The Clarient Group, Jaffe HoldenAV
The Clarient Group, Jaros Baum & BollesIT
DVS Security Consulting and EngineeringSecurity
Romano GatlandFood Services
Dharam ConsultingCost Consulting
PentagramGraphics and Wayfinding
    Photography by Iwan Baan