Barnard College today announced the selection of a celebrated New York-based architecture firm – Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) – to lead the design and construction of a new teaching and learning facility on Barnard’s Morningside Heights campus.

SOM, one of the largest and most influential architecture, design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, was selected following an extensive review process led by a 24-person steering committee including Barnard trustees, faculty, students, and senior administrators. The committee focused exclusively on design firms that met three main criteria: a history of creative and innovative architecture; a proven track record on similar projects for academic institutions; and an internal commitment to women’s leadership reflected by women holding key roles in the firm.

“We are thrilled to partner with SOM to develop this important new campus landmark,” said Barnard President Debora Spar. “It was crucial to find a firm that would work well with our community throughout the design and construction process, and SOM is the perfect choice. Barnard has a small campus and each building plays a vital role in our community. I am confident that this new building will have a transformative impact on our campus and move with us squarely into the future.”

With the selection of SOM, Barnard may now begin the process of envisioning and mapping the elements of this innovative building whose features will include:

•    A 21st century library;
•    Innovative learning labs, including a movement lab and empirical reasoning lab;
•    Computational science labs;
•    New homes for selected academic departments;
•    Conference facilities;
•    Café and dining space;
•    Group study spaces; and
•    State of the art classrooms

As the building development process continues, members of the Barnard community will meet in subcommittees to focus on the fundamental elements of this project as it moves to the design phase and beyond.

“We feel privileged to be working with Barnard on this project,” said Roger Duffy, SOM’s Partner in Charge of Design for this project. “Through our design process and engagement with the community, we hope to capture the spirit of Barnard as an institution of higher learning and to create a building that both reflects that spirit and gives it space to thrive. We would like to thank the committee at Barnard that selected SOM, and look forward to collaborating with a diverse group of the Barnard community as we move forward with the design process.”