If you’re like me, you enjoy staying toasty warm in frigid temperatures. But that in itself presents a problem when you want to venture outside to see the sights; especially if you’re planning to visit NYC anytime soon. To solve the dilemma of warmth vs. curiosity here’s a slideshow of some of the hotspots you would see on Columbia University’s campus during a visit. While it doesn’t make up for seeing the grand buildings in person, at least you’ll still get a sense of the beautiful architecture and landscapes.
So save your campus visit for warmer weather and enjoy this virtual tour in the interim. Happy touring!
Low Plaza has been described as one of the great urban spaces in America. It was built to resemble a Greek amphitheater and is ideal for outdoor events, including concerts, theatrical performances and fairs. Students flock to the plaza steps to sunbathe, socialize and study, making it, in the words of a leading architect, a true “urban beach.” Watching over the plaza is Alma Mater, a bronze sculpture by Daniel Chester French, famous for his statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The cathedral window of Kent Hall depicting Justice with her scales and sword dates back to the days when the building housed the Law School. Named after Columbia’s first law professor, James Kent, the building now features the C.V. Starr East Asian Library, and the departments of Middle East and East Asian Languages and Cultures. The Starr Library has one of the major collections on East Asia in the United States and includes books, periodicals, and microfilms of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan and Western language materials. Kent is also the administrative home of Student Financial Services and the Registrar. Students can obtain university I.D. cards here.
An authentic bronze casting of Rodin’s Le Penseur (The Thinker) stands before the entrance of Philosophy Hall. The building is home to several departments, including Philosophy, English and Comparative Literature, French, and Romance Philology.
Buell Hall is home to La Maison Française. Founded in 1913, La Maison Française is the oldest French cultural center established on an American university campus. It is a meeting place for students, scholars, business leaders, policy-makers and those seeking a better understanding of the French and Francophone world.
Buell Hall also houses the Temple Hoyne Center for the Study of American Architecture, the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery and Columbia’s Headquarters for Japanese Architectural Studies and Advanced Research.
Built in 1904 and designated a New York City landmark in 1966, St. Paul’s Chapel is nondenominational and provides a beautiful space for hundreds of events each year, including weekly religious services, weddings, lectures, memorials and concerts. Artwork inside the Chapel includes three stained glass windows handcrafted by John LaFarge and a Peace Altar designed by George Nakashima.
Avery Hall houses Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, which was founded in 1881. Masters degrees are offered in architecture and in specialties such as urban design, urban planning, historic preservation, and real estate development. The School also offers a post-professional program, the degree in Advanced Architectural Design. Doctoral programs are offered in conjunction with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
The Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, one of the most comprehensive architectural libraries in the country, is located here. Its collection includes books and periodicals in architecture, historic preservation, art history, painting, sculpture, graphic arts, decorative arts, city planning, real estate, and archaeology. The Avery collection in architecture ranges from the first Western printed book on architecture, L. B. Alberti’s De Re Aedificatoria (1485), to a broad collection of books on contemporary architectural movements.
Fayerweather is one of the buildings that complete a small quadrangle on the northeast end of the campus. It is home to the History and Sociology departments.
Along with traditional areas of study, the history department offers joint programs with the law school, the School of International and Public affairs, as well as the medical school and the School of Public Health. Sociology also maintains active teaching and research ties with various schools, departments and institutes at Columbia.
Jerome Greene Hall, the main building within the Law School complex, has been home to the School of Law since 1960. The School, which was founded in 1858, is one of the oldest in the United States. Its graduates include U. S. presidents, Supreme Court justices; senators; governors and other high ranking government officials; leading human rights advocates; legal scholars; entrepreneurs, and other corporate leaders. It is home to many of America’s most distinguished legal academics, and the site of one of the finest law libraries in the world.
Max Abramovitz and Wallace Harrison designed the building. Among his many buildings, Harrison is perhaps most widely known for leading an international team of architects that designed the United Nations headquarters.
Casa Italiana, one of three New York City landmarks on campus, is home to the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America. It is one of many buildings on campus designed by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Meade and White. It was restored in 1993 based on the designs of Italian architect Italo Rota of Paris and Milan and Samuel E. White of Buttrick, White & Burtis of New York.
Founded in 1991 on the basis of an agreement between the Republic of Italy and Columbia University, the Academy promotes advanced research in all areas relating to Italian history and society. In addition, it seeks to establish a high level of academic and cultural exchange between Italy and the US.
The International Affairs Building houses Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Founded in 1946, SIPA offers interdisciplinary masters degree programs in international affairs, and in public policy and administration. Several certificate programs are also offered. The building houses seven regional institutes, including the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the Harriman Institute for the study of Russia and the former Soviet republics, as well as centers devoted to the study of Human Rights, the United Nations, and Urban Research and Policy. The Economics and Political Science departments, and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy are also located here, as is the Lehman Library for the Social Sciences.
Construction on Schermerhorn began in 1896. An inscription above the entrance reads “For the advancement of natural science. Speak to the earth and it shall teach thee.” The centers and departments located in this building include: African-American Studies; Anthropology; Art History and Archaeology; Geology; Psychology; Women’s Studies; the Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Fine Arts Center, and the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.
Franz Boas founded the nation’s first department of anthropology here in 1899. Graduates from this program include pioneering cultural anthropologists Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead.
Schermerhorn is well known in science circles as the site of Thomas Hunt Morgan’s drosophila experiment, which laid the foundation for modern genetics and helped him earn the Nobel Prize in 1933.
Uris Hall serves as the main building for Columbia Business School, which offers MBA, Executive MBA and PhD programs, as well as short-term, non-degree courses for executives. The school’s location in the business and financial capital of the world and its relationships with global business and academic leaders make it one of the premier schools for graduate business education. The school also shares a new building on Amsterdam Avenue with the School of Law.
The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science occupies a cluster of buildings on the north end of the campus: the Schapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research (pictured), shared with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; the Seeley Wintersmith Mudd building, which is home to the Botwinick Gateway Laboratories, a state-of-the-art facility for computer-aided design; the Computer Science Building, and Engineering Terrace.
The School offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in applied physics and applied mathematics; biomedical engineering; chemical engineering; civil engineering and engineering mechanics; computer science; earth and environmental engineering; electrical engineering; industrial engineering and operations research, and mechanical engineering.
Pupin Hall is home to the Physics and Astronomy departments. The building is named after Michael I. Pupin, a graduate of Columbia College, and a professor at the University for more than 30 years. Pupin was an active inventor and patented many of his ground-breaking inventions including a method of rapid X-ray photography, secondary X-ray radiation, telecommunications technology, and sonar-related technology. During his lifetime, he received 34 patents. His autobiography, From Immigrant to Inventor, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1924.
Havemeyer Hall is devoted to the application and study of Chemistry, with a strong emphasis on research. Pioneering research conducted here led to the discovery of deuterium, for which Harold Clayton Urey received the Nobel Prize in 1934. Six others who did research here subsequently received the Nobel Prize, including Irving Langmuir, the first industrial chemist to be so honored in 1932. Room 309, the grand lecture hall in the center of Havemeyer remains the signature architectural feature of Charles Follen McKim’s original design. It has been prominently featured in over a dozen films.
As the name suggests, this building houses the Mathematics Department. This former home of the Engineering School once featured a full-sized steam locomotive inside. The area around Mathematics Hall is known as the site of the Battle of Harlem Heights. During the American Revolution, George Washington’s troops staged an important offensive against the British troops here. Though inconclusive, it revived American morale after defeats in Long Island and at Kip’s Bay. A plaque on the Broadway side of the building commemorates the battle.
The mathematics and science library here have two distinct and separately maintained collections. The mathematics holdings cover all aspects of pure mathematics, including algebra, number theory, geometry, topology, mathematical statistics, and probability. The library currently subscribes to 250 international mathematics serials. The science collection consists of general and multidisciplinary materials in such areas as the history of science and technology, older scientific periodicals and publications of academies and learned societies.
Earl Hall is Columbia’s religious and community service headquarters. Dedicated in 1902, it is one of the oldest buildings on campus. The University Chaplain and campus ministers have offices here along with more than 50 religious, political, and community service groups. Through these organizations, approximately 850 student volunteers working with Columbia’s Community Impact program, serve more than 1,000 people weekly, addressing community needs for tutoring, social service referrals, food, and more.
The School of General Studies (GS) and the School of Continuing Education are located in Lewisohn Hall.
The School of General Studies is the undergraduate college for nontraditional students who have interrupted their education for at least one year after high school or during college and have chosen to return to higher education to complete a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science.
Continuing Education students enroll in undergraduate and graduate courses offered by more than 40 academic departments in Arts and Sciences.
Lewisohn also houses the Language Resource Center and the Learning Center, a walk-in tutoring facility.
Dodge Hall is home to Columbia’s School of the Arts (founded in 1965); the Department of Music; the 688-seat Kathryn Bache Miller Theatre; the Gabe M. Weiner Music and Arts Library; the Center for Ethnomusicology; the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies; the Digital Media Center, and the Lifetime Screening Room. The School of the Arts offers Master of Fine Arts degrees in the fields of Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, as well as undergraduate majors in Film and Visual Arts and a special program in Creative Writing.
The Department of Music, one of the oldest in the country (founded in 1896), offers a range of instruction from doctoral training in composition and musicology to appreciation and criticism of music as a liberal art. The program provides many opportunities to perform and presents a series of concerts and colloquia.
The Graduate School of Journalism, located in Journalism Hall, offers an intensive masters degree program with concentrations in broadcast, newspaper, magazine, and new-media journalism. The School is also home to the foremost prizes in journalism, including the Pulitzer Prizes; the Alfred I. duPont–Columbia Awards for broadcast journalism; the National Magazine Awards; the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for reporting on Latin America; the J. Anthony Lukas Prize for book writing, and the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for magazine photography. The Columbia Journalism Review is published here as well. Journalism Hall was built in 1912 with funds donated by famed publisher Joseph Pulitzer.
Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia’s student center, serves students’ needs conveniently in one location and is a central area of activity on campus. Some of the highlights of the center are: student lounges; two dining venues; copy center; black box theater; pool and game room; 7,000 undergraduate mailboxes; two computer rooms, one allowing 24-hour access; numerous multi-functional event spaces, including a 1,100-seat auditorium; a 400-seat cinema, and offices for administrative services and student organizations.
Bernard Tschumi, former dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, in association with Gruzen Samton Architects were responsible for the building design. The architects strove for a facility that featured a modern innovative design, while remaining true to the University’s more classic architecture.
The Columbia University Libraries is one of the ten largest academic library systems in the nation, with holdings of more than 8.2 million volumes in 22 libraries, each supporting a specific academic or professional discipline. Built in 1934, Butler Library houses close to one-third of the Libraries’ on-site collections. The Philip L. Milstein Family College Library, floors two through four, serves Columbia’s undergraduate students. Of special interest at Butler are the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which contains more than 600,000 rare books and 28 million manuscripts, and the world-famous Oral History Research Office and collection. LibraryWeb is the online gateway to a wide variety of electronic resources (e.g., E-journals, databases), web-based services (e.g., Interlibrary Loan, Ask Us Now), and contact information for library staff and subject specialists.
Hamilton Hall, an original McKim, Mead, and White building, is home to Columbia College, one of the most prestigious undergraduate institutions in the world. The College, which prizes its renowned Core Curriculum, offers programs of study leading to the B.A. in 61 subjects and has 5 dual degree programs as well as a joint degree program with the Juilliard School of Music. The College Dean’s office and the Undergraduate Admissions Office for Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science are located here. In addition, the building houses the department of Slavic languages.
The Northwest Corner Building (NWC) houses faculty offices, classrooms, and research facilities for the disciplines of chemistry, biology, engineering and physics. Serving as a physical and intellectual bridge, linking laboratories and maximizing the ready sharing and exchange of ideas, resources and information, the new building will enhance the existing collaborations and stimulate new ones.
William C. Warren Hall is home to two legal advocacy programs run by Columbia Law School: the Child Advocacy Clinic and the Prisoners & Family Rights Clinic.