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Columbia University's new Renzo Piano-designed arts center debuts

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The building will open to the public on April 22

The arts center is the building on the left.
By Frank Oudeman/Columbia University

Columbia University’s Manhattanville Campus is moving along swimmingly with the new arts center, adjacent to the recently opened Jerome L. Greene Science Center, just a month away from opening. The university hosted a preview tour of the Lenfest Center for the Arts this week, which is scheduled to open on April 22nd this year.

Spanning 60,000 square feet, the Center will be the university’s first ever facility for its School of Arts to host presentations, exhibitions, and events. It will also be home to a public art gallery—the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, which will open its first show on June 2nd this year.

Like most of the buildings on this 17 acre campus, the Lenfest Center too has been designed by Renzo Piano. His architecture firm collaborated with Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill on the master plan for the Manhattanville Campus.

“From the outset, it seemed essential to me that the arts be a key part of this effort to bring together different kinds of people, ideas and creativity in a shared space,” Lee C. Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, said in a statement, referring to the Center.

Aside from Lenfest and the Science Center, the first phase of development on the Manhattanville Campus also includes the University Forum and Academic Conference Center (also Piano), scheduled to open next year, and the new home for the university’s business school—to be designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and set to open in 2021 (they also designed Columbia University Medical Center’s new Medical and Graduate Education building).