Columbia University’s new 5-story sports center is the primary athletics facility for its outdoor sports programs. With a combination of strength and conditioning spaces and student-athlete spaces that include study rooms and lounges, the state-of-the-art building is meant to serve both the minds and bodies of Columbia’s student athletes. The facility also includes offices for varsity sports and football, an auditorium, a hospitality suite, and a theater-style meeting room.
The building’s conceptual design is taken from “points on the ground, lines in space”, a phrase used to describe field play diagrams used by sports teams to strategize their plays. In this case, the points are the building’s foundations on its sloping site and the lines are its terraces and exposed external stairs. The superstructure is a series of shifting floor plates anchored to non-orthogonal, consistent column lines that run east-west on the site. A double-height steel truss that spans sixty-five feet at the fourth floor connects the main body of the building to an elevated arm that extends towards the playing fields below. This creates an expansive column-free zone below that frames the entrance to the soccer fields from the street. The tip of the building’s arm is supported by a configuration of slender, architecturally exposed, skewed columns standing nearly 40 feet tall and fulfills the “points on the ground” portion of the design concept.
The building is located just west of the elevated tracks of the 1 train on Broadway – passengers on the train can look through large picture windows into the double-height weight room on the second floor. As a result, the building framing and construction sequencing plan additionally had to be reviewed by the New York City Transit Authority.
2013 MASterwork Award, Best New Building
2013 SEAoNY Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards, Engineers’ Choice
2014 ACEC New York Engineering Excellence Awards, Building/Technology Systems – Platinum Award
2014 Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Awards, Building of the Year – TIE
2014 AIA New York Chapter Design Awards, Architecture Honor Award
Categories: Higher Education, New Construction, Parks & Recreational Facilities