Columbia Business School's new home will span approximately 492,000 square feet across two buildings and will reflect the fast-paced, high-tech and highly social character of business in the 21st century. The two new facilities will create multifunctional spaces that foster a sense of community—spaces where students, faculty, alumni and practitioners can gather to exchange ideas. Between the two buildings will be the largest planned open area in phase 1 of construction—an approximately 40,000-square-foot area known as The Square.
The designs include spaces that encourage the development of social intelligence skills and collaboration across disciplines, flexible classroom space with the latest technology, dedicated spaces for recruiting, events and networking and an alumni welcome center. Recognizing that creativity, innovation and communication—skills often nurtured in informal environments—are as important to contemporary business school pedagogy as the traditional, quantitative skills best taught in a classroom, the building’s internal spaces are organized around two distinct networks that foster informal interaction between the student and faculty of the school. Each network is a combination of circulation routes, lounge spaces, dining facilities and study rooms that facilitate planned and unplanned interaction 24 hours a day.
Where these networks meet the landscape at the street-level urban layer, major public spaces are established: in one building, a two-story, urban-scale living room, and in the other, a terraced interior space that doubles as a 300-seat large conference space.