Welcome to the New York Architecture Diary, your essential guide to architecture exhibitions and events taking place across the city.

Morningside Heights: Institutional Acropolis

28 July 1:00pm - 3:30pm
Venue: Peace Fountain
West 111th Street & Amsterdam Avenue
On the grounds of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
New York, NY

Best known as the site of Columbia University, Morningside Heights is also home to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Barnard College, Teachers College, the Union Theological Seminary, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Riverside Church, St. Luke’s Hospital and the Manhattan School of Music. Bounded by Riverside Park and Morningside Park, the elevated area boasts a great variety of notable institutional architecture spanning from 1842 to the present, including works by many nationally and, more recently, internationally recognized architects. 


The tour will begin with the neighborhood’s oldest extant building, the Leake & Watts Orphan Asylum (designed by Ithiel Town), followed by an examination of Charles Follen McKim’s masterplan for Columbia University, and its evolution. We conclude just beyond Morningside Heights with the first phase of Columbia’s new Manhattanville campus, designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Along the way, we will view and discuss buildings by Ernest Flagg, Ralph Adams Cram, James Gamble Rogers, Harrison & Abramovitz, Mitchell/Giurgola, James Stewart Polshek, Bernard Tschumi, Weiss/Manfredi, Rafael Moneo and others.