Columbia University Gary C. Comer Geochemistry Building
Palisades, NY / United States
Total Square Footage
LEED-NC 2.2 Silver Certified
The new geochemistry building is a key addition to Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory campus, located on the Palisades bluffs north of Manhattan. Its researchers seek fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world, and much of the group’s work is at the forefront of climate change science. The program called for highly specialized and unique performance requirements that introduced significant challenges for developing a sustainable design.
The design pursued a series of bold and innovative strategies that started with siting and building organization. An inventive "skip-stop" section separates intensive laboratories from less demanding office and support areas. Decoupling the constrained zones from more ordinary functions enabled the development of a highly efficient, low-impact design for roughly two-thirds of the building volume.
Photography: © Peter Vanderwarker; © Warren Jagger Photography