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Thread: Barnard Plans to Replace Student Center

  1. #1

    Default Barnard Plans to Replace Student Center

    October 5, 2003

    Barnard Plans to Replace Student Center


    Barnard College is about to transform a drab strip of upper Broadway with a student center that will enclose a multifloor library, a cafe and an indoor garden.

    Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2005. The six-story, 110,000-square-foot building will provide four new floors of badly needed space on the 4.5-acre campus, college officials said. It will replace the Millicent McIntosh Center, a two-story cafeteria and meeting place of 1960's design.

    "The closet door just wasn't closing anymore," said Suzanne Trimel, Barnard's vice president for public affairs.

    The building will be the first new construction on campus in 15 years. Its estimated cost is $45 million, with $10 million raised to date in donations from trustees and alumni, Ms. Trimel said. The college may borrow to cover some of the remaining cost, but college officials said they were still hoping for more gifts.

    The college is well placed financially to borrow, Ms. Trimel said. It lived frugally in the 1990's and recently received a positive review from Moody's, the financial rating agency. It had a record fund-raising year, raising $25 million.

    The college chose Weiss/Manfredi, a New York architecture firm known for its design of the Women's Memorial and Education Center at Arlington National Cemetery. The design features an open space and an indoor garden on many levels. Part of the building's exterior will be transparent, allowing views of the interior from Broadway. The rest will be built of a material that resembles the brick of the campus's older buildings.

    Barnard's president, Judith Shapiro, said the see-through center would brighten the edge of the campus, which runs along Broadway.

    The 1960's building that now stands "gave the college a look of a maximum-security prison, really heavy and lurking," Dr. Shapiro said during a telephone interview on Friday. "The idea is to combine some real transparence to the outside with a lot of enclosed and intimate space."

    The new student center will house a library, a cafe, seminar rooms and common space. It will include a 900-seat auditorium. Currently, the only large gathering place on campus is the gymnasium. Students will be able to send e-mail from computers in the building, and the roof will also have seating space.

    "You'll see a lot of action and a lot of things going on," Ms. Trimel said. "It's considerably bigger than what is there now."

    But despite its size, the building will not "be a tower," Dr. Shapiro said. "It won't feel like Wall Street. It will be the living center for what life is all about in a liberal arts college."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  2. #2


    The architect was at my school (Pratt) for a lecture yesterday. His firm does some really nice work. Also these two renderings don't show how interesting the building is. It should be a landmark when completed.

    Of course the community group doesn't feel the same way.


    "This building is a piece of architectural madness. Since Columbia has an avant-garde flop for a student center, Barnard wants one too. It is anti-contextual and will be far more expensive than a traditional building. Click here for another rendering. "

  3. #3


    Very intersting. Too bad it seem that the NIMBY's are going to try and do away with it. :?

  4. #4


    The community groups of the Upper West Side would be much happier if Barnard moved away entirely. Imagine what a splendid neighborhood garden could be put in place of such an elitist institution.

    Boycott all new construction! [repeat three times]
    Take back the Upper West Side! [bang drum in unison]

  5. #5


    Why does everything have to be contextual?

  6. #6


    My mistake. There was a competition for The Nexus Building and the architect who spoke to us was Mack Scogin of Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects. I'll take back my comment about it should be a landmark b/c I don't know about Weiss/Manfredi's design.

    This is MSME's competition design. They were finalist along with Machado & Silvetti Associates. There are more renderings of MSME's design on the website.

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