To Design A Gym For Columbia, Steven Holl Looks To Football Diagrams

Columbia University broke ground on a bold new sports complex in northern Manhattan recently. The design, by New York starchitect Steven Holl, riffs off of football and basketball diagrams, turning the cryptic stuff of a coach’s playbook into boxy volumes, terraces, and zig-zagging stairwells.

Per the press release:

The design concept ‘points on the ground, lines in space’… develops from point foundations on the sloping site. Just as points and lines in diagrams yield the physical push and pull on the field, the building’s elevations push and pull in space.

Curbed reports that the 48,000-square-foot Campbell Sports Center will be made of exposed steel and concrete, with a flush-glazed curtain wall and Columbia-blue aluminum soffits. It’ll include offices for football and varsity sports, space for strength training and conditioning, athlete lockers, and an auditorium, among other amenities.

The building’s expected to be completed by next fall—a blink of the eye in construction years. Think they’ll actually get it done in time? After all, executing a play has never been Columbia’s forte.

[Images courtesy of Steven Holl Architects]

Add New Comment


  • NoclothesontheEmporer

    Just maybe the folks at Columbia should've asked the folks at MIT how well the Holl-designed dormitory is working for them.  More expensive than a Ritz Carlton per bed or square foot and hard to maintain and one gets more claustrophobic the higher up one travels . . . hard to do!!!  It took forever to get the building inspector to approve it for occupancy . . . And the primarily Brutalist aspect is the budget.  Better to play at an old YMCA.