While many components of the Columbia campus have been undergoing a very public expansion, the university's nursing school has been setting in motion quieter plans. After an invitation-only design competition, the school announced today that CO|FXFOWLE, a joint venture of architecture firms, yes, CO Architects and FXFOWLE, will design the institution's new seven-story building. The architects thought of the building as a "town square," and people and departments that interact most frequently with the public—the gallery, café, admissions office, and conference room—will occupy the lower floors, while the more academic programs and faculty offices will go on the higher floors.
CO|FXFOWLE took a…flexible approach to the competition rules in coming up with this design. The competition brief called for a three-story, 65,000-square-foot building. The firm suggested that a seven-story building taking up a smaller portion of the site would be more energy-efficient and less costly to construct. The approach was a winning one, and construction on the building should begin in late 2014.