Manhattanville, Columbia University

An academic mixed-use project spanning 17 acres of the old Manhattanville manufacturing zone in West Harlem. It will boast 6.8 million ft² of space for teaching, research, underground parking and support services, and create new facilities for civic, cultural, recreational and commercial activity.


  • Manhattan, New York, USA


  • Columbia University

Project Status

  • Completed in 2016


WSP is providing full structural engineering services on the first phase of the project, encompassing 1.2 million ft² of buildings, which includes the Jerome L. Greene Science Center.

The 450,000 ft² research facility will include brain imaging facilities and state-of- the-art laboratories with world-class conference facilities. The building is designed to meet the stringent vibration threshold required by the sensitive research equipment, and also to achieve LEED Silver status.

Other structures within the scope of Phase 1 include a new 55,000ft² ‘Lenfest Center For The Arts’ building and a below grade Central Energy Plant.

The Phase 1 development is planned to have a common deep basement encompassing the whole site, though the existing site conditions pose significant structural design challenges. There are many factors that add complexity including a high groundwater table, a 250ft depth to rock, the proximity of an elevated subway line on the east side and the elevated riverside viaduct on the west side.

To simplify the below grade dewatering, the site will be surrounded with a deep diaphragm/slurry wall system providing water cut-off and structural stiffness to minimise settlement of the elevated subway and the viaduct.

A ‘top down construction’ scheme has been adopted consisting of excavating below while simultaneously building the structure above thus saving significant construction time.

WSP has also been awarded the below grade space for Phase 2. This common base will support teaching facilities above grade and will encompass mechanical spaces, parking, loading dock facilities and other support spaces.