Columbia University

Columbia University Northwest Corner Building

Completed in 2010, the Northwest Corner Building was developed by Columbia University for the beginning of their campus expansion on the upper-west side of Manhattan, New York. The design by architect Rafael Moneo features an extruded aluminum facade, a system that was designed-engineered and fabricated by Zahner for the cladding of the structure.

The building's engineering is a bold feat of structure and construction. Its design called for a 125' span across the existing gymnasium on ground level. Because Columbia opted to build around an existing gymnasium, the building design was modeled after a high-rise bridge. The construction process took place during the school's basketball season, and due to this, many aspects of the construction process required surgical precision.

The angularity of the facade is designed to express both the building's randomized structural bracing, as well as the tailored building systems. The architects and engineers faced many unique layout challenges and the building required long-term flexibility. The extruded aluminum facade is an engineering-intensive surface designed and fabricated to evoke the same unified precision as the building itself.

Photo of the Columbia University Nortwest Corner Building

Columbia University Northwest Corner Building.

Photo of Columbia University Northwest Corner BuildingPhoto of Columbia University Northwest Corner Building

 

Columbia University Northwest Corner Building.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Columbia University Northwest Corner Building

Detail of the Columbia University Northwest Corner Building.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of the aluminum facade system used on Columbia University Northwest Corner Building

Detail of the aluminum facade system used on Columbia University Northwest Corner Building.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Creating the Energy-Efficient Aluminum Facade System

The new university building is certified LEED® Gold. Integrating into the the building's LEED aspirations was a simple process for A. Zahner Company, because the operations and manufacturing of the plant is already well-suited for LEED applications.

Because Zahner operates under a design assist mode of production, every component of the project was accounted during the engineering and design process, before manufacturing had even begun. Zahner's engineering and design team reduced the construction waste for the facade down to a fraction of the building's footprint.

Columbia University's first installed aluminum panels.

Photo of the aluminum extrusion system facade used on Columbia University

Detail of the aluminum extrusion system facade used on Columbia University.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Photo of Zahner-produced mockup for wind-testing the Columbia facade system

Zahner-produced mockup for wind-testing the Columbia facade system.
Photo © A. Zahner Co.

Columbia University Northwest Corner Building: in the Press

“The building is a gleaming physical expression of the university’s desire to bridge the divide between the insular world of the campus and the community beyond its walls.”

—Nicolai Ouroussoff, New York Times

The New Columbia University Sciences building has attracted many news outlets and media interest due to its unique facade and intelligent engineering by the architectural team lead by Rafael Moneo. Learn more about the project via both internal and external links below.

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