Located on the corner of West 218th street and Broadway—the northernmost edge of Manhattan, where Broadway crosses with Tenth Avenue and the elevated tracks of the 1 subway line—the Campbell Sports Center forms a new gateway to the Baker Athletics Complex, the primary athletics facility for Columbia University’s outdoor sports program.
The first new athletics building to be constructed on Columbia University's campus since the Marcellus Hartley Dodge Physical Fitness Center was built in the mid-1970s, the Campbell Sports Center is the cornerstone of the revitalized Baker Athletics Complex and provides increased program space for the entire intercollegiate athletics program. The facility, which adds approximately 48,000 square foot of space, houses strength and conditioning spaces, offices for varsity sports, theater-style meeting rooms, a hospitality suite and student-athlete study rooms.
The Campbell Sports Center, designed by Steven Holl and Chris McVoy, aims at serving the mind, the body and the mind/body for aspiring scholar-athletes. The design concept “points on the ground, lines in space”—like field play diagrams used for football, soccer, and baseball—develops from point foundations on the sloping site. Just as points and lines in diagrams yield the physical push and pull on the field, the building’s elevations push and pull in space.
A piece of the urban infrastructure, rather than an isolated building, the Campbell Sports Center shapes an urban corner on Broadway and 218th street, then lifts up to form a portal, connecting the playing field with the streetscape. Extending over a stepped landscape, blue soffits heighten the openness of the urban scale portico to the Baker Athletics Complex. Terraces and external stairs, which serve as “lines in space,” draw the field play onto and into the building and give views from the upper levels over the field and Manhattan.
With an exposed concrete and steel structure and a sanded aluminum facade, the building connects back to Baker Field's unique history. In 1693, The Kings Bridge, which spanned the Spuyten Duyvil Creek, was the main access route into Manhattan. The current infrastructure of Broadway Bridge carries the elevated subway, and Broadway, with a lift capacity of hundreds of tons. Its detail and structure are reflected in the Campbell Sports Center.