NEW YORK (AP) — Italian architect Renzo Piano said Monday was a perfect day to dedicate Columbia University's new science center that is part of the school's $6.3 billion West Harlem expansion.
"This is exactly the day I wanted for today: sunny, breezy, fresh, crisp," he said, standing in front of the 450,000-square-foot Jerome L. Greene Science Center that replaces a defunct industrial site.
"Fresh air, that's what we need," he added.
The nine-floor edifice featuring exposed steel beams is part of Columbia's upcoming $6.3 billion campus that will unfold in upper Manhattan over the next decades.
The former industrial area spans 17 acres.
Piano, of the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, designed the master plan for the entire acreage.
The science building sits between the elevated No. 1 subway train track and the Hudson River. Among other research laboratories, it will house the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, named after the publisher. In addition, a community wellness center will link the Ivy League university with the neighborhood's health issues.
Three other buildings will comprise the so-called Manhattanville Campus, named after the surrounding neighborhood. The Lenfest Center for the Arts will open next year, then the University Forum and Academic Conference Center in 2018, and finally the new home of the University's Business School in 2021.
The landscaped grounds, still under construction, will be "woven into the existing street grid with no walls or gates."