Diana Center Opens at Barnard College

The Diana Center, a 98,000 square-foot multipurpose arts building at Barnard College, is now open to students and the public. Winner of a national design competition and a Progressive Architecture Award, the center establishes a new nexus for social, cultural and intellectual life on campus and within the city.

Located on Broadway, the Diana Center unites landscape and architecture, interior and exterior in a seven-story structure that rethinks the conventions of a mixed use building. Carving a diagonal void through the building, ascending double-height glass atria establish views through diverse program spaces and visually connect Lehman Lawn to the upper floors of the building and the green roof. The slipped atria and unfolded glazed staircase bring in natural light and eliminate visual boundaries between the College and the city while providing spaces for informal interaction to encourage collaboration and dialogue across disciplines.
The facade, composed of 1,154 clear and colour integral glass panels, translates the brick and terra cotta of the surrounding neighbourhood into a luminous, energy-efficient exterior. The pattern of opaque and transparent panels calibrates views and daylight with the requirements of the program, which includes architecture and painting studios, a 500-seat performance space, black box theatre, cafe, dining room, reading room, classrooms, and exhibition galleries.

For two decades the architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi has practiced outside the traditional boundaries of architecture, integrating art, architecture, infrastructure, and landscape design in their work with complex sites and programs. Their recent Olympic Sculpture Park for the Seattle Art Museum was awarded Harvard University’s International VR Green Prize, and the firm received the Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Published in 2008, their monograph Surface/Subsurface includes essays and interviews that present nine recent projects.
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