Lerner Survives a Decade of Hate

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Well, what do you know!  Alfred Lerner Hall is having a birthday, and you’re all invited!

lerner 10 

It’s been ten years since the much-maligned student center first opened.  There’s no cake, but there’s a banner and several photos from Lerner’s younger years taped to the glass. And praise be, they’re visible from the outside as well, so you don’t have to navigate the ramps to find them.

If you prefer, check out the official Lerner Hall history page.  Highlights include the conceptual sketch that shows a building resembling a corkscrew.


No, that’s not a third grader’s rendering; that’s the real sketch. Also, according to the website, the building won “the American Architecture Award, the New York City AIA Design Award, and Time Best Design of 1999,” plus the “Highest Percentage of First Years Thoroughly Confused Award” for ten years running.

– Photo by JYH

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  1. whoa  

    that picture of alfred lerner holding a cigar is so badass!! what a pimp!

  2. Thoughts  

    I remember reading this article about architectural awards, where I read it escapes me unfortunately, where the author suggests giving awards with emphasis on, shock of all shocks, client usage of a building, instead of aesthetics and glossy photos. Upon proposal of this idea, he was met with silent stares.

  3. You Know  

    We could've had a good student center. James Polshek was the dean of the architecture school. He did the Rose Center planetarium. Here, he did Sulzberger Hall at Barnard and the Law school lobby. Why couldn't we use him?

    • Alum

      By the time Lerner was built, Polshek was no longer the dean. The new dean was Bernard Tschumi, and he's the one who designed Lerner.

      Of course, there's no reason the commission had to go to the architecture dean at all.

  4. 2150

    hey bwog, i heard a rumor that a columbia student is having an affair with jon stewart! know anything about this?! it would be super cool if it's true!

  5. ...  

    while it manages to fall completely flat as a student center, i'm convinced that lerner would make a fantastic bus terminal.

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