Columbia University Computer Science
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New York, NY

This renovation project entails both interior and exterior improvements that will have a big impact both on the functioning of this critical teaching and research department and on the campus as a whole.

A priority for the project is to bring natural light into the lab spaces; the department has made ad-hoc use of these spaces that were originally designed as a data center. This change will restore large scale window openings to the base of the 1978 Fairchild Building that were subsequently blocked up.   The new windows will open up the department directly to the entrance plaza to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and greatly improve the experience of using the college walks in the north-eastern corner of the campus.

The interior scope of work includes an 8,000sf gut renovation of the department’s main teaching and research lab spaces and an enlargement of its nerve center – the server room.  The project expands the main lecture room to seat 125; re-organizes all lab spaces; adds a conference rooms and enlarges the server room to increase the rack count from 30 to 47 racks.  The lecture room and conference rooms will feature full audio-visual capability include lecture capture, webcasting and distance learning.

Major infrastructure up-grades are required by the server room expansion, which requires a complex phasing plan to maintain the core functioning of the servers throughout the construction process.  A building wide code review of the north-east quadrant of the campus was also carried out as part of this project.

Photography by Joan Tsen