Diller Scofidio + Renfro Designing Kravis Business Buildings for Columbia

Chalk another one up for Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Just a week after the firm unveiled its new designs for the Broad Foundation in LA, Columbia has just announced that the university has selected DS+R to design two new buildings at its new 17-acre Manhattanville campus. Both buildings will be an outpost of the business school, one of which will be named for renowned corporate raider Henry Kravis, who graduated from the school in 1969 and recently donated $100 million toward the project.

Columbia President Lee Bollinger said in a statement that the choice was in fitting with the aims of the university’s new, if controversial, campus:

“They have achieved beautiful, important architectural successes that have been thoughtfully integrated into the surrounding urban fabric. This is the essence of what we are trying to create on Columbia’s new, open campus–bringing together different areas of teaching and research, and enhancing the connections between the University and surrounding community.”

This sounds not unlike something Charles Renfro, one of the firm’s partners, told The Observer in a profile this week: “We’re often in the business of taking institutions, which historically could draw a line between themselves and the place where they exist, and blurring the edges between public and private.”

The firm will have its work cut out for it, as the university’s Harlem neighbors are still wary of the new campus following an acrimonious takeover fight that involved eminent domain and a legal challenge that nearly made it to the Supreme Court.

Perhaps Columbia–long a patron of architecture, it should be noted–is hoping to smooth out some of the bumps with some dynamic designs. In addition to DS+R, Renzo Piano and SOM have been at work on the Manhattanville campus from the beginning.

The new building is part of the 30-year project’s first phase, which means they will likely be built sometime in the next five to ten years. A timeline for the designs has not yet been set according to a Columbia spokesperson.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that only one of the two DS+R-designed buildings would be for the business shool. Both are.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Designing Kravis Business Buildings for Columbia