Forget for a moment that President Obama bumped the New York Times’ Jill Abramson from the dais to deliver this year’s commencement address at Barnard and not his alma mater, Columbia College. Tonight, the Times’ architecture critic Michael Kimmelman will be delivering a lecture at Barnard’s Diana Center, titled Public Space and Public Consciousness. However, a busy Kimmelman also appeared last night at GSAPP, for a conversation with Columbia Professor Gwendolyn Wright.
In collaboration with New York-based common room architects, students at Barnard + Columbia Undergraduate Architecture (b+c a) designed a temporary installation to transform student space at the school’s Altschul Atrium.
The Altschul building, a modernist structure built in 1969, sits on the northwest corner of Barnard’s campus facing east towards the Weiss/Manfredi-designed Diana Center, which opened in January 2011. The new center houses undergraduate architecture, studio art, and art history departments and has brought increased movement to the center of campus, including students looking for space to sit, read and socialize between class. This addition to the campus has also brought attention to the unused atrium space at Altschul, which houses faculty offices and labs. The the idea behind the atrium installation is to encourage a more interactive relationship with the Altschul space as well as with other neighboring buildings on campus. Students and faculty of b+c a have envisioned an installation that accommodates multi-use programming and one that focuses on the importance of flexibility and function.
Since last year, esteemed architecture photo agency ESTO has been shooting video as well. Here is the latest effort, a look at the Diana Center at Barnard, narrated by the designers, Weiss/Manfredi. From the first frame, we couldn’t help but think of Curbed’s frequent Rendering vs. Reality feature. From that first frame on, at times it looks like exactly that, like we’re looking at a renderings. Were it not for the cars and buses and students passing by at times, we might actually believe so. We’re still not sure what Weiss/Manfredi was going for here in terms of appearance, but it certainly seems to be working for the firm.