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Thread: Columbia University Campus Expansion - Manhattanville

  1. #211

    Default First off

    I'm a guy. Why am I posting as a woman? Who cares, I seem to also be Chinese here, this is the Internet and you guys all brandish avatars of rock stars, Jesus. Anyways, I graduated in 1966, lived there some until 1968 and saw the whole Morningside Heights gym fiasco go down and there is nothing about the place since then that strikes me as neighborhood friendly, so for instance I live now in Providence (and have a doctorate from Brown) and you can get into all the buildings here (except dorms) without an ID. I am not saying Columbia can do this, understand, the place is different, but then too it is not neighborhood friendly either. What else? I called Low Library, Lowell (in honor of Robert, I suppose), so great sleuthing. I know Mckim White also did Low, but I am not certain about the other buildings at all, and they are different actually, the more recent ones not as nice. To call them Beaux Arts and, say, the Ansonia Hotel Beaux Arts on another thread here (which I just got off of before posting here at that point) is merely insane, of course. These buildings are pretty remarkable for their drabness. John Jay Hall, the biggest, is just exactly any apartment house. If they have "elements" of Beaux Arts then I probably also have elements of Lizbeth Li, though I am straight. Whatever, I'm glad people liked my idea of going to the river, thought the idea of moving equipment up flights nutso (there are elevators) and can imagine all sorts of space underground for vibrationless science -- hell, this is also the point, science buildings look AWFUL because of their needs, and no one needs millions of them, put half the stuff underground for all I care. About not liking all the wonders of science in the university, I don't particularly, but this is a topic that isn't about architecture, however I suggest for profit stuff makes university labs different in regards to eminent domain and tax benefits, which has much to do with building. I'll look up more about all those main campus buildings and how Beaux Artsy they are, which I really doubt. I'm sorry if I'm a little nuts right now, my mother just died.

  2. #212
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    The buildings on 116 between Columbia and Riverside are almost all residential. Columbia owns most if not all of them, but that doesn't mean it can do whatever it wants to them. There are probably people living there who are not faculty or students and many of them may be in rent stabilized or rent controlled apartments. Some of the buildings may be co-ops as well, not sure about that. But in any case, Columbia building anything on that stretch is probably a pipe dream.

    The older campus buildings (the red ones anyway) are definitely Beaux Arts. As Fahzee said, maybe not the best of Beaux Arts, but that's what they are.

    Everything new they've built is basically crap. All of the stuff they built in the 50s and 60s across the street (SIPA, Law, some parts of Barnard) is brutalist concrete slab, and everything they built in the 90s/00s (Warren, the Student Center, Uris) is postmodern junk that supposedly tries to mesh old with new and manages to accomplish neither. The Student Center in particular annoys me to no end. What an ugly piece of junk, and a complete waste of valuable space.

  3. #213

    Default Beaux arts

    Correct me if I am wrong here but some quick research reveals that the term is one like "romantic" and can mean many different things; that is, the movement copied from the past in general and what kind of Beaux arts is to the point. So, if you have the Ansonia, you are in some odd French Renaissance world and this is Beaux Arts; but Columbia is neoclassical Beaux Arts and quite a different guy. The style is all aboutl America's MIGHT and coming of age (think Teddy Roosevelt, think Rome and colonialism), which is why I don't much like it for a University, which to my mind is more Gothic and soaring gracefully to some Godhead. Columbia IS BRUTAL, Stalinesque, by design, exactly my feel. I am almost certain too that the later buildings of the main campus (most of them really) were thought far inferior to the few original ones (like Philosophy). Anyways, I never pretended to be more than an amateur about architecture, but I also think I have taste. Columbia's grand monumentalism is not humanist at all.

  4. #214

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    Lizbeth, have you ever read the history of the campus? Easy as it might seem to connect neoclassical monumentalism to the prevading spirit of turn-of-the-century Manifest Destiny jingoism, that wasn't the intention when the grounds were designed. Then, everything south of 116th was still open land, and the assumption was that it would be filled with brownstones. Low Library was designed to embrace the city, its plaza opening onto the street and its stairs sweeping people up into the school. Its classicism was meant to evoke Greece more than Rome; it was meant to be a civic space in the tradition of the agora.

    Only in the 1930s was the vista from Low onto the city closed off by Butler Library, and only in the 1950s was 116th closed to traffic. The development of Columbia's campus into a space fully enclosed from the city was a slow, haphazard development, not a bid to erect a monumental cloister.

    Still - what is so terrible about the cloister? Oxford and Cambridge are nothing but a chain of sheltered little spaces. Harvard, which you have spoken of reverently, borrows from this with its house system. At least Columbia students aren't divided from one another, and the campus really is open to whoever can find the front gate. At the same time, the agora of Low still functions well; it's a far better (and more active) gathering place than Harvard Yard (having attended both Columbia and Harvard, I can tell you that Harvard, lacking a campus focal point, feels dead, and dispersed...and there is certainly little of similar architectural distinction at Harvard, or, in my opinion, at Brown).

  5. #215

    Default We have different taste

    Low Library got its inspiration from the Pantheon which is Roman and not Greek. If you think Butler Greek (it is a squat pile of macho shit in my opinion), delicately soaring, you are crazy. The unbelievable sameness of the Columbia facades or all buidlings is immensely BORING, monolithic, fascistic, hardly the effect of the city beautiful (whatever the philosophy) and cannot compare to the diversity of Harvard Yard (Beaux Arts here, Richardsonian there, federalist over there). Brown's main green like Harvard Yard is human-sized and there are also very interesting building combos (more federalist, italianate gothic, arts and craft, etc.), and the surrounding area is spectacular and can be seen from the campus downhill (First Baptist Church, First Unitarian Church, John Brown's House, etc.). Whatever, you like Columbia, students much prefer Brown, and not for its academics but its style. I'll say this as well, there is something American about both campuses which is true and felt. If you are wandering around Columbia and pretending to be a Roman (or a Greek) while madmen are getting patents in bipolar medicines ... oh, well, I suppose Columbia is a better place to go nuts and maybe burn the place down.

  6. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by investordude View Post
    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.
    Well obviously. That's common sense so let's give the planners at Columbia the benefit of a doubt to at least know that.

    I think we are talking more about their other functions that can be built up higher such as offices and student housing. For example, instead five or six squat 10-story dormitory buildings uprooting that many separate sites, they should be allowed to consolidate them into say, two or three 20-story buildings instead.

    In addition to less neighborhood disturbance, you have buildings that are more likely to be thinner and attractive instead of squat and hulking. Unfortunately with one-size fits all zoning and height limits that we have, you can't do that sort of smart and common sense planning. Everything's got to be this number of stories or less regardless if it doesn't make sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimus Prime View Post
    Everything new they've built is basically crap. All of the stuff they built in the 50s and 60s across the street (SIPA, Law, some parts of Barnard) is brutalist concrete slab, and everything they built in the 90s/00s (Warren, the Student Center, Uris) is postmodern junk that supposedly tries to mesh old with new and manages to accomplish neither. The Student Center in particular annoys me to no end. What an ugly piece of junk, and a complete waste of valuable space.
    Sadly, that is also the same story for the rest of the city in the past 50 years.

  7. #217

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    I think we are talking more about their other functions that can be built up higher such as offices and student housing. For example, instead five or six squat 10-story dormitory buildings uprooting that many separate sites, they should be allowed to consolidate them into say, two or three 20-story buildings instead.
    Tell it to the "Community."

    True most places; not true here. Place is a pig sty and needs to be taken over at street level by continuous upgraded streetwall. Almost nothing here of value to anyone. Car repair? Pshaw. Where's londonlawyer to complain about the filthy, disgusting pieces of crap?

    In addition to less neighborhood disturbance...
    Hardly any neighborhood to disturb.

    you have buildings that are more likely to be thinner and attractive instead of squat and hulking.
    Most places this is good; here you need a blanket takeover if you want to avert a forty-year transition.

    one-size fits all
    Ironically in this case, this describes your prescription.

  8. #218
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    I'm not so sure about the misconception that the neighborhood is entirely made up of auto repair shops and of no value.

    I would rather see that Cotton Club there instead of a Student Services building for example.

    Would make for a more interesting and diverse neighborhood, wouldn't you say?

  9. #219

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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    I'm not so sure about the misconception that the neighborhood is entirely made up of auto repair shops and of no value.
    Of course not; there's other stuff too --most of it junk.

    I would rather see that Cotton Club there instead of a Student Services building for example. Would make for a more interesting and diverse neighborhood, wouldn't you say?
    You can have both; saying it's either/or is strawmanship.

    Anyway, it's telling that "Cotton Club" is the best example you can pick. Phony-baloney tourist trap.

    No, this place really needs to be redone. Park Slope it ain't.

  10. #220

    Default agree

    yeah, I think its preferable to keep the Cotton Club than seize it from an unwilling owner. Given this project is going to last until 2030, I think they can wait this guy out and negotiate with his grandkids, who my guess is may feel less passionately about the club.

  11. #221

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    How about a Student Services Building with Cotton Club on the ground floor?

  12. #222
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    You can call it phony baloney tourist trap but it at least gives the neighborhood some character. A student services building or a student counseling center will have none.

    Besides, large scale, singular redevelopment projects have lots of potential to turn out wrong. I'm all for redeveloping the area but in a piece meal manner with other types of thriving businesses included in the area. I just don't think one large campus neigborhood will turn out well in the long run.

  13. #223

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    I'm not sure anyone here has actually been to Manhattanville, both pro and con, and I fault the con's much more in their removal ignorance. How many people live there? How many businesses are there? How many are employed? What tax will the city lose? I don't see anyone asking for the destruction of the place knowing anything -- good community people that you are!!!

  14. #224

  15. #225

    Default i've been there before

    Well, I don't live in that part of Manhattanville (which would be hard since its mostly industrial). I have no idea if the Cotton Club is good or bad. But its this guy's property. Why have an unncecesary fight? If the guy wants to keep his club open, and this isn't going to finish until 2030, then build around him and then negotiate with his kids - who I imagine would be happy to trade in the club for a lifetime of riches. That beats eminent domain, which can and should only be a last resort.

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