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Columbia's New Sport Center Is An 'Architectural Chameleon'

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New York Times archicritic Michael Kimmelman isn't the only one with soulful praise for Columbia University's new sports center. The $30 million Steven Holl-designed complex opened earlier this year, and now it's archicritic James Russell's turn to wax poetic about the metal and glass structure. As is Curbed's custom, we've turned his latest Bloomberg piece into a free verse poem:

The Campbell Sports Center
flamboyantly bumps and grinds,
showing off its shiny metal stairs that ascend like lightning bolts.
More than just a place to pump iron,
this $30 million architectural chameleon
is a poetic barometer of its dissonant circumstances.

Holl deftly plays off the clattering hulk
of a nearby elevated transit line.
Gyrating stairs
bring a pulsing energy to upper Broadway,
huddling in the shadows of the grim train line.
Catch the sun with the sports center's exterior stairs,
clad in reflective metal cut in jazzy patterns.

An office wing juts from the fourth floor
on thin columns and diagonal braces.
It angles away from the street,
its form evokes muscles and sinews.

It shapes an inviting visual portal
through greenery to the action on the soccer field.
Where the building faces the sports fields,
it opens in soft facets, "like a hand."
· Columbia Jocks Get Jazzy Stairs in Holl's Sports Center [Bloomberg]
· Rhyme Time With James Russell archives [Curbed]

Columbia University

, Manhattan, NY 10027 (212) 854-1754 Visit Website

Campbell Sports Center

218th Street and Broadway, New York, NY