The Vagelos Education Center at Columbia University is a multi-level landscape-on-structure that strengthens campus connections and perceptually links the new medical building to the Hudson River riparian corridor. Because of the severe climatic conditions of the site, the design was informed by a wind-tunnel analysis and uses topography, windbreaks, and cliff-side vegetation to protect users from severe winds. A sequence of protected outdoor rooms interact with the campus architecture to reveal layered experiences, including a central event lawn for gatherings, a sheltered study grove, and a stepped overlook that reveals expansive views of the river and George Washington Bridge. A mix of native and naturalized plantings were chosen for their resilience and adaptability to the site’s exposed conditions. Evergreen juniper trees serve a critical function as a buffer that protects visitors from winds and produces year round texture, color, and movement in the landscape.
- Columbia University Medical Center
Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Photographed by Ty Cole