Furnald Hall Reopens after Extensive Renovation
After extensive renovation, Furnald Hall was welcomed back for use by the Columbia community Friday at a reception hosted by President George Rupp, Provost Jonathan Cole, and Executive Vice President Emily Lloyd.
University Residence Halls (URH) presented the newly renovated Furnald Hall to the 234 undergraduates who will enjoy its state-of-the-art living environment.
|Furnald Hall before the construction of the former student center Ferris Booth Hall.|
Constructed in 1911, Furnald Hall was designed by architects McKim, Mead and White, notable for their work on many landmark neo-American Classic buildings in New York City. When the renovation of Furnald began in 1993, architects Mayers & Schiff were challenged to retain the classic style and popular features of Furnald Hall while upgrading building systems, designing efficient program space and modernizing student bedrooms.
Furnard Hall is conveniently located and features a spacious main lounge ideal for social activities and informal gatherings. First occupied in 1913, the residence hall accommodated 263 male students in singles and "walk-through" doubles. For the past 80 years, the building has housed Columbia students, first undergraduates and then law students. In 1960, Furnald once again became an undergraduate residence and the renovation plans assumed that it will remain an undergraduate, coed residence.
While Furnald Hall has long been the favorite residence of the senior class, its age and design made it a likely candidate for renovation. Space for social activities was limited. Floor lounges, refurbished in the late 1970s to allow for cooking, television viewing and informal gatherings, were poorly designed for these activities. Another major drawback was the lack of appropriate bathroom arrangements; originally conceived as a single-gender residence, the community bathrooms were not adequate for coed occupancy. To address these concerns, the floor lounges have been enlarged and the new kitchens have been organized with an eye towards efficient use of space. To resolve the bathroom situation, all coed floors, 3 through 9, now have two single gender, community shower-toilet rooms per floor.
To improve the general ambiance of the corridors, finishes include carpeted floors and stone flooring around heavily trafficked areas. Walls and ceilings enhance acoustical damping. Special attention has been given to the type and proper placement of bulletin boards, emergency lighting and fire-alarm equipment.
|Furnald Hall will be conveniently situated next door to the Lerner Student Center, currently under construction.|
Another exciting feature of Furnald Hall's renovation is the installation of new or improved climate-control devices. In addition to an upgraded steam-heating system, Furnald has been made fully air-conditioned. To further enhance the comfort and efficiency of building climate, new windows and insulation have been installed throughout the building.
Many other renovations were also made. Upgraded building systems will provide improved lighting, security, waste disposal and conservation of water and energy. In student bedrooms, residents will find restored walls and ceilings, carpeted floors and overhead lighting. Electrical outlets have been upgraded in both number and type and are situated so as to avoid interference with furniture placement. A number of spaces will accommodate students with disabilities. Finally, to insure that Furnald Hall will be able to meet the demands of the Information Age, each student room has been fully wired for connections to Ethernet and cable television.
On the first floor, residents will have convenient access to valuable services and facilities. The Residential House Dean's office will be located directly off the main lounge to provide on-site academic advisement. The Office of Career Services will also maintain an office here to facilitate placement assistance and career guidance. These services will be especially helpful to Furnald Hall's seniors who may be seeking post-graduate programs of study or employment. Also located on the first floor, residents may make use of the newly furnished computer room. Comfortable, well-lit and quiet, this facility provides residents with computer access as well as additional study space.
The centerpiece of Furnald Hall is the main lounge. Over the years, general deterioration of the embossed ceiling had resulted from water and steam leaks. Refurbishing of this space was considered an essential part of the building renovation. The success of this effort is enhanced by the new finishes and furnishings that now grace this elegant space. Newly installed lighting complements the architecture and illuminates the room's beauty.