Oct

13

Warning: The New York Times Will Cite Your Comments

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Numerous tipsters have highlighted the featured article in today’s Times arts section, about the still-under-construction Northwest Science Building, and its architect, Jose Rafeo Moneo. The article provides a comprehensive overview of the many difficulties that the project has faced, including building on top of the gym, complementing the Manhattanville expansion, and, um, anonymous commenters. 

Yes, to demonstrate that “not everyone is happy with the results,” the Times cites a comment from an old Bwog article. “[I]n 2007, a poster called “arch. major” wrote, ‘McKim, Mead & White will roll over in their graves,’ adding that the building made Uris Hall, the widely derided main building of Columbia’s business school, completed in 1961, ‘look like the Pantheon.’ ” Good thing there isn’t an article on Harmony in the works.

– Photo: schmuela/Flickr

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14 Comments

  1. oddly

    enough, the nytimes didn't quote the rest of arch.major's in which he said "f**ck me hard. this blows."

  2. NWSciBldgHunter  

    Where is the Northwest Science Building? Is this near Broadway? I've been trying to find it.

  3. To be fair

    I absolutely hated the first set of public renderings, and I was appalled by how tall the building was once the steel frame was complete. However, the design has grown on me. Some things to keep in mind

    1) Sure it would've been nice to limit the building's height to that of neighboring Pupin and Chandler Halls. But Columbia doesn't have the luxury of sacrificing square footage for aesthetics. In square footage per student, Columbia is dead last, and school #7 on the last has double that already. In order to conduct more of the best science in the world, we need more space, period.

    2) Campus north of Uris has been horrendous for a long time. Fairchild, for whatever aesthetic positives it has, chokes up the northeast corner of campus because it leaves just a narrow courtyard between it, Mudd, and Uris. Pupin Plaza on the other hand was open but disgustingly barren. There were the tennis courts, a toolshed, and some pathetic planters. If done right (and to be honest, I'm skeptical of this happening for a number of reasons), the Pupin Plaza level lobby and glass curtain wall of NCB could really give some life to a dreary part of campus.

    3) I'm really excited about the lobby on 120th and Broadway. In 112 years on the Morningside Heights Campus, Columbia has never designed a single building that welcomes in visitors and the public. In Manhattan, street corners are everything. Approach Columbia from North or South on either Amsterdam or Broadway and you're greeted by nothing but cold stone corners. Entrances to buildings that do face the street are either tucked away down a street (Law, IAB), or vacant or locked down (Lerner, Mudd). Maybe, just maybe Columbia will get this right.

    4) Blind love of a McKim Meade and White designed neoclassical exterior architecture does not make. As others have pointed out, CEPSR for all it's aping of the original style looks like a fake. And at least it's made out of good material. If you want see the same thing done with cheap material, check out the nursing home across the street from St. John the Divine. Sometimes it's OK to try something new. What makes Uris and Mudd so bad is not that they were "modern" and stylish at the time. To the contrary, the buildings were commissioned by Deans who were solely concerned with the utilitarian function of the building - getting the most square footage for the least amount of money possible.

    5) C'mon, admit it. This building cries out "BEHOLD! The Power of SCIENCE!" Pretty cool.

    • ...  

      1) The New York Times is not coming back and will not quote you.

      2) The northwest science building is buttfuck ugly.

      3) It doesn't scream science, it screams I am a gigantic air handling unit.

      3a) It remains to be seen if it rusts or gets moldy.

      4) If this were, say, Grenwich Village where there is a whole patchwork of modern and classical stuff, then it might kinda make sense. But lets be honest, Columbia control of the neighborhood has kept everything looking pretty much the same up here. Columbia installing it's own juxtaposing element is kinda like building a big wall in your own front yard to block any view in order to recreate what "real neighbors" have to deal with.

      4) Uris not stylish? Are you fucking kidding me? Have you not seen the hinges on the front door or the metal frame library that is in the shape of a fucking circle? It really doesn't get more modern than when you start with fucking pi and end with a steel structure.

  4. N.B.

    Point number one is referring to square footage per student *among Ivy League schools*

  5. claude-nicolas ledoux

    Alan Lapidus discusses Uris in his memoir. It's worth a read.

    Uris is a Beaux-arts building stripped of ornament and squeezed into a modern grid. The roundness of the back of the building, likewise, is a hangover from University Hall.

  6. 2150

    that's so cool that they quoted a bwog comment in such a huge paper!

    hi new york times! pick me!!!! hahah

  7. Harmony Hunter  

    maybe someone from the nytimes can help me find harmony

  8. the beauty

    The beauty of the Columbia campus is that it shows the evolution of architecture through history. The university builds according to the current trends and it is appropriate for buildings like this and Lerner to look "futuristic" and have a lot of glass, etc. Because that is the current style. We have the old buildings that fit in with there time period. It is nice to look around our campus and see how the world is changing. We are not in the 19th century anymore and it is wrong to pretend like we are.

  9. Karen  

    I'm very touched to see that you used the photo I took last week. I was trying to figure out why its Flickr stats had skyrocketed....

  10. Anonymous

    It's a pretty sterile-looking building that could function as a boring university building at any other university. One might have expected better.

  11. manhattanviller

    It's kind of funny that the New York Times article only shows a small, glassy section of the building and not its entire, aluminum casing. Giant air conditioning unit, indeed.

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