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Columbia U. Bringing Starchitecture to ... Inwood?

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Think Columbia only wants to put West Harlem under the knife? Think again, Uptowners. While most people are nervously chewing their fingernails over the details of NYU's expansion plan, the Ivy Leaguers have been moving on some big plans for Inwood. At the tippy top of Manhattan?separated from weirdo Marble Hill by the Harlem River?lies Columbia's outdoor athletic facilities. A tipster clues us in on the site's planned makeover:

Columbia has released more information on their new sports building that will replace a maintenance shed at W218th and Broadway, on the corner of what used to be known as simply Baker Field (now, ahem, Kraft Field at Wein Stadium at Baker Field Athletics Complex).

Anyway, pretty heady stuff for upper Manhattan - Steven Holl is doing the (rather funky looking) building, and Field Operations is designing the park that is proposed to be constructed for the community in lieu of the required waterfront access. (May be some fireworks at CB12 over that trade.) Interesting project all around.

March: In like a lamb, out with the Lions?

Here's what we're dealing with at the Baker Athletic Complex. First up is Steven Holl's five-story Campbell Sports Center, the details of which are right here. Wish we had more renderings, but Holl's a tenured professor at Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, so we trust that he'll probably be bringing his A game. Now for the public benefit, listed on Columbia's website as the Baker Athletic Complex Waterfront Public Access Area but also given the name Boathouse Marsh, designed by the mighty James Corner Field Operations (of High Line and Freshkills Park fame). The summary sure sounds nice, and stresses that there actually will be river access:

The waterfront public access area would create new public access and new amenities on the waterfront at West 218th Street and Indian Hill Road. The project, known as "Boathouse Marsh", consists of a total of approximately 40,000 square feet and is intended to build on the natural history of the site and enrich the biodiversity of the Harlem River valley. The Boathouse Marsh project would also create new public access and new amenities on the Harlem River waterfront.

The area features a deck through lushly planted native water gardens, wildlife observation, places to sit and picnic, lawn and trees, shade and a close relationship to the water's edge. A moss and fern covered wall along the southern edge of the site creates a cooler microclimate during summer. Bike racks, entrances from Inwood Hill Park and from West 218th Street, and views into the feature areas of park from the street will make it clear that the space is open to the public.

Renderings above of the fabulous new Baker boys. Now if only Columbia could do something about improving the actual on-the-field performance.
· Baker Athletics Complex Sports Center [facilities.columbia.edu]
· Baker Athletic Complex Waterfront Public Access Area [facilities.columbia.edu]

Campbell Sports Center

218th Street and Broadway, New York, NY

West 218th Street at Broadway, New York, NY