DS+R: Business School Towers

CU: Business School Towers

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Two grand stair gestures between buildings—the Forum and the Commons - define their respective front doors onto the large square and up to the vortex network. These large social and event spaces engage the Square and make a strong visual connection across the landscape to each other. In each building a migrating atrium stair network opens upward from the urban layer drawing daylight down through the heart of the building, expanding over the large spaces of the Commons and the Forum, interconnecting with the network of social spaces above. The ground floors of each building are brought to life 24/7 with Cafes, Food, IT, and event spaces, connecting with the campus and the public at the square.

Learning Network

The Network forms a new type of academic space, interconnecting all of the levels of the building with generous circulation through the Vortex. Each Network contains Lounges, Flexible Seminar Spaces, Open-breakout, small Bleachers seating, Carrels, and informal hang-out spaces. The Network promotes interaction and exchange between all members of the CBS community. The Network supports the social and creative life of the building and weaves the student path through the Faculty and Administrative floors providing numerous opportunities for serendipitous exchange. Network Lounges are furnished, appointed, and lighted in different ways to produce distinct atmospheres for social life throughout each building.

Marble Cake

Faculty and Administrative Floors are interleaved w ith Classroom floors, each function maintaining the possibility of separation while at the same time promoting endless opportunities for exchange. The resultant combing together of program elements is legible at the building exterior – with building skins tailored to the performative and aesthetic characteristics of each function – as well as at the interior, where a connecting stair transects both major types of program functions.

Innovative Classrooms

Classroom floors are open to and interconnected by the Network and its informal spaces function in supporting structured classroom activities. Classroom floors are glazed to produce a sense of visual openness, while treated to provide visual privacy where required to avoid distraction and for exterior daylight control when needed. Classroom Floors are conceived as a Continuous Topography, with contoured tiers flowing through the glass line as seating areas, undermining their “roomness” and creating a sense of continuity with social spaces. Tiered 74-person Case Study, 50-person Studio, 25-person Seminar Rooms all provide different ways of opening up to each other flexibly to be use in break-out, negotiation, or experiential learning scenarios. The 150-person classrooms provide lecture opportunities for 2 clusters simultaneously. Classrooms are designed flexibly to be 24/7: lounge-y or suitable for other activities when not in use for structured teaching.

Two Hearts

Although there are a number of learning and interaction spaces distributed along the network stair atrium, there are two larger spaces that define the clear student heart at the base of each building, and two special student spaces that provide destinations at the top of each building. The student heart of the west building is the Commons and Commond Dining area. At the top of the west building is the Student Social Lounge, a space where students can relax and let loose. There will be game tables, a cascade of casual seating and lounging spaces, a large media screen for watching events or movies as a group, casual soft lounge furniture and tables for eating or meeting at. The student heart of the east building is the ground level - collecting together the energy of the Forum, the student central hang-out and study space, and the student central dining cafe. At the top of the east building is the Student Quiet Study Lounge, a space where students can always count on finding a table to meet with classmates at and get work done. This space will provide a gradient of work environments, from somewhat quieter distraction-free spaces to more central spaces for group working, eating, and socializing.

Network Neighborhoods

The two buildings are similar and different. They are made of the same DNA and yet have distinct identities. The West Building is more out-going, with 360 degrees of exposure and greater proximity to the river; while the East Building has a stronger connection to the urban fabric of Manhattan and the mid-block pedestrian axis of the Manhattanville master plan. The internal organization of the major networking spaces supports these different building identities - oriented outward in all directions in the west building, while focusing towards the Square in the east building. The larger learning network is broken down in scale to a series of network neighborhoods, nodes of interaction defined by local accumulations of lounges, study rooms, printing areas, and informal meeting areas.