Turner Construction Company – The Milstein Center

turner milsteinThe Milstein Center will be an academic hub in the heart of New York City’s Barnard College

By Knighthouse Media Editorial Staff

Founded in 1889, Barnard College has been known for its distinctive academic culture.  Located in New York City, it is dedicated to women’s education and the liberal arts. The school was actually founded as aresponse to neighboring Columbia University’s refusal to admit women.

Although today’s Barnard students are allowed to use the libraries of Columbia, Barnard has always maintained a library of its own. Lehman Hall was the site of Barnard’s Wollman Library from 1959 until 2015. In 2016, that building was demolished to make way for a new library: The Cheryl and Philip Milstein Teaching and Learning Center.

At 128,000 square feet, the new facility will be almost double the size of Lehman Hall. “It will transform Barnard’s campus and serve as a focal point for scholarship, community and innovation,” the college says. Indeed, the three largest donations in the history of the college – totaling $70 million – helped to fund construction of the library.

The new facility will incorporate state-of-the art learning spaces and technologies in an interactive setting. The facility will be a key component in Barnard’s institution of a new technology requirement, beginning with the class of 2020. Turner Milstein box

Scheduled to open in August 2018, the facility will feature a new computational science center equipped to support its students and faculty in computational methods research. The center will physically connect to science classrooms and labs in neighboring Altschul Hall. There will also be a digital commons with five innovative teaching labs that will utilize new media and digital technologies. Additionally, the building will house the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the Barnard Center for Research on Women.

Signature Location

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)’s Roger Duffy, the building will have a base of five floors and a narrow tower of eleven floors aligned with Altschul Hall just to the north of the new building. Given the building’s location at the center of campus, it is difficult to overstate its significance.

“The Milstein Center’s design is a response to its signature location at the campus center, the lawn,” the college states, “while transforming a more connective campus experience at the heart of its scholarship, the library.” Lead designer Duffy, it should be noted, has significant experience designing academic facilities, having worked on buildings at the New School and Brown University.

According to Barnard, the building’s unique design featuring terracing will serve two functions: One is to invite sunlight onto the campus lawn, while also serving as a respectful neighbor to its community. The terraces, with their green spaces, will extend the lawn up onto the building, creating inviting outdoor spaces.

The school is committed to limiting its carbon footprint, and in partnering with SOM, Barnard chose an architectural firm noted for its commitment to innovative sustainable strategies. Presently, the building is slated to receive LEED Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Experienced Partner

In choosing a construction services company for the project, Barnard elected to go with one of the most experienced firms when it comes to building in New York City: Turner Construction. It was founded in 1902 and has contributed to many of the city’s landmark projects including Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center and Yankee stadium.

Turner has 46 offices in the United State, is active in 20 countries around the world and averages about 1,500 projects a year. Although its services include general contracting and construction management, the company is also noted for its green building projects, which include many in the academic field.  Turner is one of the largest Green contractors in the United States, and has completed 300 projects that have been LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

So far, the Milstein Center is set to be completed on schedule. There was a topping off ceremony in April signifying the end of the structure’s steel construction phase. Students and attendees were able to sign the beam that went atop the steel structure.

The current phase is the installation of the exterior walls, including the façade, which is made up large patinated zinc panels. This phase is expected to continue through August and includes the construction of party walls. Sadly for Barnard students, the term “party wall” isn’t as exciting as it sounds. It refers to structures that adjoin adjacent buildings. In this case, that would be Altschul on the north side and Barnard Annex to the south.

Interior finishes began in May and are expected to last until April 2018, when installation of furniture and equipment begins. When completed in 2018, the structure should be a tremendous gathering place for Barnard students.

“Like Barnard College itself, the Milstein Center will be a distinctive place of academic engagement and outreach,” the college says. “The new building will be a physical embodiment of a culture of intellectual collaboration and interdisciplinary interchange to create cross-departmental ties, to stimulate global connections, to inspire students and to foster a bond between students and faculty.”

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