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Thread: Columbia University Campus Expansion - Manhattanville

  1. #196

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    lizbeth li, go stand in the corner.

  2. #197

    Default columbia

    First off I went to Columbia College and know it quite well. The main campus is not filled with Beaux Arts buildings, I don't know where you got this idea at all. Lowell and Butler libraries are grand neoclassical affairs, institutionally IMPORTANT but to my mind nothing special at all except big and cold (Columbia as an Ivy League school, by the way, suffers from the worst inferiority complex imaginable and grandeur is its hallmark in denial). All the other buildings are otherwise mainly of a piece, all the dorms and classrooms -- from Jay to Hamilton to Philosophy etc. -- and the style is kind of 1920's apartment house. Anyways, if you ever have seen the stats about space, how much Brown has or Harvard versus Columbia per pupil -- how it is "losing" out" and not "competitive" -- this is all a very big crock. The square feet deficit is utterly meagre, and Columbia lives or dies by NYC. Thus it was at the bottom of the Ivy League as NYC and the Upper West Side were near bankrupt and worse, and it has now advanced to mid-League given the city is hot. I could go on about this stuff for a long time, but I do contend that walking around the campus is conducive to a good undergrad college experience, and the main campus is exactly supposed to be all about this (including the horrid Ferris Booth and whatever they call New Dorm now).

  3. #198

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    should read "not" conducive to a good experience, sorry.

  4. #199

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    Lizbeth, I graduated from Columbia in May. When was the last time you were on campus? Ferris Booth was demolished in the mid-90s and replaced by a new student center. New Hall has been named Carman since 1965.

    True, the expansion won't directly serve undergrads. What it will do is ship quite a few science, business, and arts oriented grad students and professors to Manhattanville, freeing more space on the main campus for undergrads to use and have a "good experience" with. And yes, it's needed. The impossibility of reserving rooms for meetings, rehearsals, or performances puts a fairly natural limit on what Columbia can offer its undergraduate students, and the sciences desperately need new facilities. Your sardonic comment about the atomic bomb is undermined by the quickest Google search, but you actually make a good point: Columbia's science facilities were reasonably top-notch when the Manhattan Project was taking place. They aren't anymore. That's part of the reason Manhattanville is being developed as it is.

  5. #200

    Default oh, well

    I don't think I said Columbia couldn't build, I said I saw no reason it had to take 23 acres. A couple of tall towers would house whatever was needed. And if the problem is outdated labs and such, money could be spent on updating them rather than building more buildings. About "facilities" for meetings and such? C'mon, really, that the undergrad experience is wanting because of a dearth of facilities for meetings??? Yeah, I'm ironic. About Carmen, forgot it's name, knew it by it's other, and didn't realize Ferris was gone. So what? Both are and were, of course, horrible, and never in the slightest keeping with the rest of the main campus. Which is a thruway for the entire campus and will never be an undergrad kind of place, not like Harvard Yard or most of the other Ivies. And I am certain Columbia did achieve something in the last 50-years, I will not dispute it, if you will not dispute it is the most pumped up weirdly defensive supposedly elitist place imaginable, and I do read my Alumni Mag when I am taking a dump.

  6. #201

    Default Columbia on the river

    Actually, if you saw the original plans for the area, Columbia should be given a bunch of Riverside Park along 116th. It would make infinitely more sense and bring the school to the water where it belongs. And displace mainly a bunch of squirrels.

  7. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizbeth li View Post
    I don't think I said Columbia couldn't build, I said I saw no reason it had to take 23 acres. A couple of tall towers would house whatever was needed.
    My sentiments exactly. Instead of disrupting so many properties just to build a certain amount of space Columbia needed, they could just concentrated all of it in just a few taller towers instead.

    Unfortunately, in this height obsessed city, tall is seen as an evil and so whole swaths of neighborhoods have to go under the plow instead.

  8. #203

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamilton View Post
    ^^^ Wow. That was one of the most misinformed comments on the expansion that I've seen here.

    You tell Columbia to build up closer to its main campus, but the entire area around Columbia is surrounded by height-averse NIMBYs (that, honestly, seem to mirror your comments on several tall projects around the city). They got Columbia to leave a parking lot between 113th and 114th unbuilt to this day.

    As far as research at Columbia, have you ever thought about the fact that you can't name any says more about your (understandable) lack of knowledge of modern science than about the lack of any research at Columbia?

    Columbia's 600 active patents are used more than any other university's patents, bringing in $230 milllion per year in royalties. The university produced 175 patents and non-patentable inventions last year, including the most popular anti-glaucoma drug in use, as well as fertility and cancer drugs.

    That's just biotech, and there are a lot of fields where advances aren't measurable in patents and such.

    Why would the school care about urban removal, especially in this area? And removal of what? The projects will still be right there. If anything, Columbia's expansion will mean that it will have to interact MORE with the urban poor, not less.
    I missed this one and it is informed and deserves some response. I don't like huge buildings on top of one another downtown, blocking out and killing off architectually wonderful older buildings by sheer size and proximity. But I am not against tall within limits if it has enough room. I said, for instance, that I thought the Jersey skyline from the new Goldman headquarters was much nicer than the downtown one. Anyway, a couple or a few tall towers set off (not in the middle of the main quad obviously and I suggested even along the river at 116th) would not be terrible up there at all. I think I am consistent. About the patents or the neighborhood? Yes, indeed. Columbia is a fortress and doesn't interact with any neighborhood. You can't get into buildings without all sorts of ID, think medieval univsersity. Patents? You have the modern major university which is really a subsidiary of Merck and Pfizer and whatever, and to my mind half the drugs are bogus and insane, okay? And everyone and their mother must research and produce and produce and sell, and none of this is neutral academic anymore at all. So, what you are REALLY building is not a university at all, you are building an industrial park, or like Silicone Valley (or mental hospitals too now) is one big CAMPUS. Well, I come to things with a humanities background, great books if you remember them, contemporary civilization and all that, and you can learn under a tree also (but there are no nice places, nice trees. really, to read up there, you know???). Progress? I can see the people in "Manhattanville" thinking it is all about MONEY and nothing else, and if this is all it's about then how does Columbia parade that it is this GREAT UNIVERSITY needing special rights, including not being taxed, of course. Again, I see nothing wrong in housing a BUSINESS in some big towers and forget the "campus" and dislocating a whole neighborhood.

  9. #204
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    Default Columbia & Beaux Art

    lizbeth li - I don't think you know architecture as well as you think you do. You are correct in assuming that Butler & Low have Neoclassical elements (I assume the columns tipped you off), but the majority of the "1920's apartment buildings", as you put it, are in fact beaux artes.

    They were, after all, designed by the architecture firm of McKim, Mead & White - no strangers to the beaux artes movement

    Are these the best examples of Beaux artes?- no, not by a long shot, but it doesn't make their symmetry and design any less appealing.

    Moving on to your more recent points: I'm not a Columbia grad, so I can't speak to the "inferiority complex" that you mention - I've always assumed it was a good school. And while I do agree with you in part, that the campus fails to "interact with the neighborhood" - I do not understand your point about needing ID cards to get into buildings.

    Perhaps college was a few years back for you - but nowadays ID cards for buildings, especially for schools in urban areas, are the norm, not the exception.

    Also - if you find fault with idea of Columbia holding patents, you should really find fault with the entire American University System, as there are few academic research institutions that do not hold patents - license fees from the patents go towards things like financial aid, endowed professorships, and (yes) expansion projects.

    I'm happy that Columbia isn't building a few towers, because the plan for the Manhattanville campus is simply better. If you prefer a "neighborhood" of parking lots, bus depots, and storage facilities, I suggest you move to any number of the rust belt cities that would kill for a project like this.

    Edit: Rereading my final sentence, I realize that it comes of a bit harsh - I mean "you" as in the universal sense of the word.
    Last edited by Fahzee; December 4th, 2007 at 12:36 PM.

  10. #205

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    Quote Originally Posted by lizbeth li View Post
    Columbia should be given a bunch of Riverside Park along 116th. It would make infinitely more sense and bring the school to the water where it belongs.
    Very interesting idea, and one that would give me a thrill if implemented --but it's pissing into the wind.

  11. #206
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    Fahzee's right: every college these days requires ID cards to access most buildings.

    And lizbeth, I disagree strongly with your alternative proposal to build a few towers to house most of the expansion. The premier educational institutions in the US have acres of land to distribute their (mainly horizontal) facilities; if Columbia has the opportunity to expand its footprint, it should do so. Just for starters, consider how much more difficult it would be to move all that expensive, heavy lab equipment 20 or 30 floors up.

    Whether square footage per student truly matters is irrelevant here, I think. In the end, it comes down to just another statistic in college rankings. Not as important as students per classroom, but important nonetheless to many applicants.

    I like your idea about Riverside Park, though. I think it'd be amazing for Columbia to utilize all the space between Morningside and Riverside Parks - in essence becoming somewhat enclosed, but then again taking part fully in what is a great part of upper Manhattan. I think there's a lot of potential with their expansion plans. I recently went up to Harvard, and it struck me how much better integrated Cambridge was with the school than either Columbia or NYU.

    The canvas is much the same: a busy main street in Broadway, subway access, proximity to the river and 10 minutes away from the main business district. All they need is to make the area as pedestrian friendly as possible, and build it out completely. When in Cambridge, you notice every space is utilized (few if any parking lots), and the streets are narrow and well-traversed, but you don't feel cramped. That's what Columbia should be going for here.

  12. #207
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizbeth li View Post
    I don't think I said Columbia couldn't build, I said I saw no reason it had to take 23 acres. A couple of tall towers would house whatever was needed. And if the problem is outdated labs and such, money could be spent on updating them rather than building more buildings. About "facilities" for meetings and such? C'mon, really, that the undergrad experience is wanting because of a dearth of facilities for meetings??? Yeah, I'm ironic. About Carmen, forgot it's name, knew it by it's other, and didn't realize Ferris was gone. So what? Both are and were, of course, horrible, and never in the slightest keeping with the rest of the main campus. Which is a thruway for the entire campus and will never be an undergrad kind of place, not like Harvard Yard or most of the other Ivies. And I am certain Columbia did achieve something in the last 50-years, I will not dispute it, if you will not dispute it is the most pumped up weirdly defensive supposedly elitist place imaginable, and I do read my Alumni Mag when I am taking a dump.
    Crazy...I think your posts mostly speak for themselves, though I doubt you really went to college at all in the first place.
    Let me put on my Sherlock Holmes cap for a minute:
    --I would imagine from your user name, that you're a woman....
    --but Columbia's only been co-ed since the 80's
    --yet Carman Hall hasn't been a "New Hall" on the campus since 1965

    All of which would rule out the possibility of you attending what was then an all-boys Columbia College.


    Whether or not you're just pulling all of our legs, here are some questions, just for fun: You're Columbia's president, and decide to upgrade all the labs instead of build new ones. Where should the scientists conduct their research while their old labs are being upgraded?

    --You have a horrible, life-threatening flu, or multiple-drug-resistant pneumonia, but you think modern pharmaceuticals, including retrovirals and new antibiotics, are a joke. What do you do to get better? Homeopathy?
    Last edited by Hamilton; December 4th, 2007 at 04:58 PM.

  13. #208

    Default wtf?

    What's with the attack on Ms. Li, Hamilton? The personal invective seems way out of proportion to whatever disagreements you have - I don't think there's a reason to doubt she went to Columbia.

    My own take is that it would be better for Columbia to build tall too, within limits. One limit is I'm not sure the city will allow them to build tall because NIMBYs would stop it. Another is that laboratory buildings sometimes need fairly precise specifications that may be inconsisten with a high rise. For example, some experiments might require isolation from vibration, which may be difficult to engineer in tall buildings that need some ability to sway with the wind.

    But sure, to the extent Columbia can build tall, that's preferable to eminent domain.

  14. #209
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    I don't think that it's unreasonable to assume that (presumably) a woman who claims to have gone to Columbia College in the 1960's, when the college didn't allow women, and who gets several facts wrong about the university (Lowell Library??), is lying.

    All in all, her posts are flamboyant and outlandish, which makes me think that the user may be a troll.

    Though I'll admit that I too wish Columbia could build taller and yes, even build down in the bowels of Riverside Park.

    Anyway, I edited above to make my point clearer. Sorry if I was too uncivil.
    Last edited by Hamilton; December 4th, 2007 at 05:13 PM.

  15. #210

    Default i agree on ID cards by the way

    It's just plain common sense that an urban campus needs ID cards to enter buildings. Campuses in nice rural areas may not need this, but clearly any place in Manhattan a college needs security. (If they wave the campus ID cards, can someone let me know where they put the sorority)

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