Next on the to-do list for Columbia’s Manhattanville expansion: the curtain wall of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center.
After completing the structure of the science center—the first building on Columbia’s new 17-acre campus—earlier this month, construction workers have moved on to the glassy wall that will enclose the Renzo Piano-designed building.
Installation will begin in November, and constructing the wall will take about nine months, Executive Vice President for Facilities Joe Ienuso told Spectator on Friday.
First, workers will put up the opaque aluminum that makes up the wall of the building’s second floor, and then they will add in the glass on the other floors.
“There are almost countless elements that have to come together, from hangers to glass to aluminum mullions,” Ienuso said. “It’s a lot of work.”
Once the wall is up and the building is enclosed, work will begin on the building’s interior. The entire science center is scheduled to be completed by fall 2016.
The appearance of the curtain wall will shift depending on the weather.
“You pick up the color of the sky, you pick up clouds,” Ienuso said. “The color of the building actually changes based on the light of the sky.”
The effect will be the same as that of the Northwest Corner building, which “looks different in dusk than it does in a cloudy day, and in the late afternoon, the building sometimes looks copper,” Ienuso said. “It sort of changes its mood.”
The Lenfest Center for the Arts, for which the design has been completed, is slated to open at the same time. The parts for the building are being purchased right now.
“On some levels, it’s almost completely different than Jerome L. Greene,” Ienuso said. Because the building includes a film venue and a black box theater, the façade won’t be as transparent, although there will be plenty of natural light for the Wallach Gallery and a multipurpose space.
“The program inside the building defines what the skin of the building will look like,” Ienuso said.
Just behind Jerome L. Greene and Lenfest on the schedule is the Forum building, a conference center just south of the main construction site.
While University President Lee Bollinger said earlier this month that he hoped the Forum would open at the same time as the other two buildings, Ienuso said he wasn’t sure if it was going to happen.
“I can’t commit to you today that the Forum will open at exactly the same time,” he said.
It will be a less complicated building than Jerome L. Greene or Lenfest, but the Forum’s design isn’t complete, and the logistics of constructing it on a smaller site could be tough.
“There’s a chance that the Forum will lag, but the objective is to not have the lag be very long,” Ienuso said.
“Because they’re still in design, it’s a little premature to talk about schedule,” he said, adding that the design work was about 50 percent complete.
Meanwhile, most of the old Manhattanville is gone. As of early this month, all of the demolition on the main site has been completed, Ienuso said. All that remains is one structure at 125th Street and Broadway, which will come down within the next year, and several Columbia academic and administrative buildings in the construction area that were preserved.