A password will be e-mailed to you.

Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center

Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center, The design is led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler as executive architect. Located on the CUMC campus in the Washington Heights community of Northern Manhattan, the 14-story facility will aim to achieve LEED Gold certification and incorporate technologically advanced classrooms, collaboration spaces, and a modern simulation center.

Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-03-Iwan-Baan-800x1200 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Iwan Baan

“The design seeks to reshape the look and feel of the Medical Center, and to create spaces that facilitate the development of skills essential for modern medical practice.” – Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-06-Iwan-Baan-759x506 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Iwan Baan

“Space matters for structured and informal learning,” says Elizabeth Diller, founding partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro. “To support Columbia’s progressive medical education program, we designed a building that will nurture collaboration. Its defining feature is the Study Cascade–a 14-story network of vertically linked spaces in a variety of sizes, both focused and social, private and communal, indoors and out.”

Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-07-Iwan-Baan-800x1200 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Iwan Baan

A design fostering connection and collaboration, combined with cutting-edge learning technology, will create the environment needed to educate tomorrow’s physicians and scientists.

A main feature of the new building will be a system of alcoves for social interaction. The “study cascade” brings together an intricate network of intimate spaces located off of the main stairwell. These spaces offer busy students and faculty a place to recharge and connect.

The Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center will also feature:

  • 100,000 square feet of high-tech classroom facilities
  • Advanced simulation center for immersive, simulation-based medical education
  • Innovative learning spaces, for both collaboration and quiet study
  • New auditorium and event spaces with integrated technology
  • Centralized student support services
  • Lounges, café, and student commons
  • Space configuration that allows optimal daylight into classroom and public spaces
  • Wide range of sustainable features, designed to obtain LEED Gold certification
Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-08-Nic-Lehoux-800x1200 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Nic Lehoux

“We are training the doctors who will deliver medical care, the scientists who will perform groundbreaking scientific research, and the teachers who will help train the future generation of physicians and scientists. It is important that their educational facilities are as exciting as medical science is today,” – says Dr. Vagelos.

Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-09-Iwan-Baan-759x506 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Iwan Baan

“We are so grateful for Roy and Diana’s dedication to Columbia, not only through their own generous gift for this important new education building, but also the inspiration they provide to others,” says Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger. “They are joined in this enduring commitment by Philip and Cheryl Milstein who have long supported so many parts of the university, from Morningside Heights to the Medical Center, and Mary Jaharis and the late Michael Jaharis and their family, for their long-established engagement with the Medical Center and this project. Because of their collective efforts we are adding another of several new architectural jewels on our campuses.”

Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-12-Iwan-Baan-759x506 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Iwan Baan

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 percent by 2025.

Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-13-Nic-Lehoux-800x1200 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Nic Lehoux

Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC):

The Vagelos Education Center is a new, state-of-the-art medical and graduate education building at Columbia University Medical Center.The building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Gensler as executive architect, 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.

Construction began in September 2013 with an initial lead gift from P. Roy Vagelos, MD, a distinguished alumnus of Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S), and his wife, Diana Vagelos, an alumna of Barnard College and vice chair of the Trustees of Barnard College. The Vagelos Education Center was funded through the generosity of many committed friends, faculty, and alumni donors.

In addition to the new Vagelos Education Center, initiatives to revitalize the campus include adding green space, creating a new gateway to the medical school, consolidating student services, renovating several existing buildings, and constructing new spaces, including the new home for the Columbia School of Nursing. The Vagelos Center will help define the northern edge of the campus and provide a bridge to the surrounding Washington Heights community.

Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-diagram-02-internal-organization-759x982 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

diagram 02-internal organization – © Diller Scofidio + Renfro

“Our new education building will ensure that Columbia continues to train superior doctors and researchers, educated in the latest techniques, as medicine continues to evolve rapidly throughout the 21st century,” says Lee Goldman, MD, executive vice president and dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University and chief executive of Columbia University Medical Center. “The building also will allow us to centralize key activities in a state-of-the-art facility that reflects our commitment to providing world-class instruction and a superb learning environment for students.”

Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-ground-floor-plan-759x505 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

ground floor plan – © Diller Scofidio + Renfro

The Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center is a 14-story glass, concrete, and steel structure defined by the “Study Cascade”—a network of social and study spaces distributed along an exposed, interconnected vertical staircase that extends the height of the building—and encompasses 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art 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. Other key elements of the design include:

  • Ground floor lobby and café, which adjoin a “study bar” with views of the Palisades
  • Student Commons, which features a café, computer work area, and computer labs
  • Advanced clinical simulation center, a specialized space for mock examination rooms, clinics, and operating rooms
  • Multipurpose auditorium, a 275-seat flexible space used for campus-wide events such as lectures, screenings, and concerts
  • “Academic Neighborhoods”, groups of classrooms that can be configured according to need by operable partitions, drop down screens and large-scale multi-user touch screens, suspended ceilings, and distributed power and data at the floor
  • South and West Courts, outdoor spaces featuring local plant species
  • Anatomy Quad, a flexible learning space with integrated screens and task lighting
Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-14-Nic-Lehoux-800x1200 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Nic Lehoux


“The Vagelos Education Center started with a clear vision as a place of excellence for higher learning that would also act as a much needed social center,” says Maddy Burke-Vigeland AIA, principal at Gensler. Because of everyone’s deep involvement, it has transformed into something that exceeds even those high expectations: a vibrant new hub for Columbia’s Medical Center Campus.”

Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-16-Nic-Lehoux-800x1200 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Nic Lehoux

The Vagelos Education Center targets LEED Gold certification. Sustainable features include environmental assets, such as fixed and operable shading to optimize the regulation of daylighting and solar gain by program area; an innovative mechanical system designed to maximize tenant comfort, and minimize energy and water use within the building; green roof technologies that reduce the heat-generating effects of urban asphalt and concrete, lower building energy consumption, and recycle stormwater runoff; and the use of native plantings adapted to the area’s sun and wind conditions to minimize irrigation requirements and produce year-round texture, color, and shelter.

Roy-and-Diana-Vagelos-Education-Center-By-Diller-Scofidio-Renfro-17-Nic-Lehoux-800x1200 Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro

© Nic Lehoux

Project Data:

Project name: Shanghai Tower
Location: Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), 104 Haven Ave, New York, NY 10032, United States
Coordinates: 40.844695, -73.942575
Type: Skyscraper, Reseach / laboratories Center
Size: 14-story tower + cellar and mechanical penthouse
Project detail:

  • Site dimensions: 125’ X 100’
  • Gross floor area: 110,000 sq.ft
  • Zoned floor plate: 81,000 sq.ft
  • Tower floor plate: 6,000 sq.ft
  • Base floor plate: 12,500 sq.ft
  • Total building height: 220’-0”

Design Competition date: March 2010
Groundbreaking: September 16, 2013
Status: Built
Completion Year: 2016
Opening Date: August 16, 2016

The people:

Client / Owners Representative / Developer: Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), Group PMX

Executive Architect: Gensler

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Team:

  • Partner-in-Charge: Elizabeth Diller
  • Principal Designers: Ricardo Scofidio AIA, Charles Renfro AIA, Benjamin Gilmartin AIA
  • Project Director: Anthony Saby
  • Project Architect: Chris Hillyard, AIA
  • Design Team: Chris Andreacola AIA, David Chacon AIA, Christopher Kupski AIA LEED AP, Barak Pliskin AIA LEED AP, Kevin Rice AIA, Gerard Sullivan AIA, Mary Broaddus, Charles Curran,Robert Donnelly, Amber Foo, Yoon-Young Hur, Joshua Jow, Andreas Kostopoulos, Joseph Dart Messick, Patrick Ngo, Matt Ostrow, Stefano Paiocchi, Jesse Saylor, Jack Solomon, Hallie Terzopolos, Elizabeth Wisecarver

Gensler Team:

  • Principal-in-Charge: Madeline Burke-Vigeland AIA, LEED AP
  • Project Manager: Kristian Gregerson AIA
  • Technical Director: Ambrose Aliaga-Kelly AIA
  • Design Team: Joanne Fernando AIA, Jinho Kim AIA, Michelle Neary AIA, Bill DuBois, Ana Espejo, Mariano Ortiz, Henry Hong RA, Scott Wilson AIA


  • Structural Engineer: Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA)
  • MEP Engineer: Jaros Baum & Bolles (JB&B)
  • Civil / Geotechnical Engineers: Thornton Tomasetti, Weidlinger Transportation Practice


  • Landscape Architect: SCAPE/Landscape Architecture
  • Curtain Wall Consultants: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers P.C.
  • Lighting Consultants: Tillotson Design Associates
  • Acoustic / Audio / Visual Consultants: Cerami & Associates, Inc.
  • Building Code Consultants: Milrose Consultants, Inc.
  • Elevator Consultants: Jenkins & Huntington, Inc. (JHI)
  • Graphic Designers: 2×4 and Gensler
  • Security and IT Consultants: Jaros Baum & Bolles (JB&B)
  • Sustainability Consultants: Vidaris Inc.
  • Foodservice Consultants: Cini-Little International, Inc.
  • Construction Managers: FJ Sciame Construction Co., Inc.

Text Description: © Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC)
Images: © Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Iwan BaanNic Lehoux, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC)


Related Posts:

Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center / Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Reader Rating 7 Votes

Post's Gallery:

Send this to a friend