The Vagelos Education Center façade features ceramic “frit” patterns

Columbia University Medical Center’s new, state-of-the-art medical and graduate education building, the Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center, opened to faculty and students on August 15, 2016 for the start of the fall term. Designed by the New York-based interdisciplinary design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler as executive architect, the Vagelos Education Center is a 100,000-square-foot, 14-story glass tower that incorporates technologically advanced classrooms, collaboration spaces, and a modern simulation center to reflect how medicine is taught, learned, and practiced in the 21st century. The design seeks to reshape the look and feel of the Medical Center campus, and also create spaces that facilitate the development of skills essential for modern medical practice.

The Vagelos Education Center is a 14-story glass, concrete, and steel structure anchored by a network of social and study spaces distributed along an exposed, interconnected vertical staircase that extends the height of the building—known as the “Study Cascade”—and encompasses 100,000 square feet of advanced medical and scientific facilities. The alcove interiors of the Study Cascade, designed to be conducive to collaborative, team-based learning and teaching, open onto south-facing outdoor spaces and terraces.

DS+R’s design takes advantage of an incredible view of the Hudson River and the Palisades. The building also integrates a range of sustainable features—including locally sourced materials, green roof technologies, and an innovative mechanical system that minimizes energy and water use—and the façade features ceramic “frit” patterns that are baked onto the exterior glass to diffuse sunlight. All new construction and renovation projects—including the Vagelos Education Center—work toward the goal of minimizing CUMC’s carbon footprint and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2025.








Design and info © Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Images © Iwan Baan and Nic Lehoux

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