The overlooked part of Columbia University's expansion is the major upgrade planned for the school's athletic facilities on the upper tip of Manhattan. There lies Columbia's Baker Field complex, including the Lions' football stadium and a number of practice fields for other student athletes. The school wants to build a new athletic facility (called the Campbell Sports Center) designed by starchitect and Columbia professor Steven Holl, and there are also plans for a waterfront park designed by High Line veteran James Corner Field Operations. But don't send in the goal line offense just yet, because the Inwood neighbors are rallying the D. There are the usual complaints about blocked views and increased traffic?to which a Columbia official countered, and we're paraphrasing here, "Uh, the team sucks"?as well as some verbal assaults on Holl's design.
Some catcalls from the bleacher seats:
Inwood neighbors say they understand the problem but contend the design, by the acclaimed architect Steven Holl, a Columbia professor, is out of character with the sedate Art Deco and Tudor-style apartment buildings to the south. The angular Holl building would be set partly on stilts and accented by terraces and stepped ramps that echo urban fire escapes. “It does not relate well to the community,” said Gail Addiss, 61, an architect who lives opposite Baker Field. “It’s similar to Frank Gehry architecture — large metal things whose glare is going to cause more brightness to reflect into people’s windows.”
Ronald McGlynn, 60, a retired Verizon manager who has lived in Inwood for 45 years, said the design would clash with the “older-style, 1950s-type” buildings. “I don’t understand the functionality of it,” he added.
Ack, the glare! At least it might distract from the play on the field.
· Building Plans at Columbia’s Athletic Complex Stir Unease Among Neighbors [NYT]
· Columbia U. Bringing Starchitecture to ... Inwood? [Curbed]