Columbia Engineering is undertaking a series of major renovations to the Seeley W. Mudd Building, its home in the northeast corner of the Morningside campus, to improve student life and support a renaissance in interdisciplinary research now happening at the school.
The building’s campus-level student commons, the Carleton Lounge, is being remodeled and enlarged by nearly 50 percent. This work should be done in 2015.
Also under construction is a “maker space,” a facility that combines elements of machine shops, wood shops, and design studios. Columbia’s maker space, on the twelfth floor of Mudd, will officially open in September; it is intended primarily for students working on independent projects. It is equipped with 3-D printers, laser cutters, woodcutting tools, sewing machines, an electronics workbench, and computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Perhaps the most important capital project underway at Mudd is the transformation of its engineering library into research office and collaboration space for the University’s Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering. The old library, which occupied a large section of Mudd’s fourth floor, was shuttered this past spring; the library facilities were moved to the new Science and Engineering Library in the Northwest Corner Building, which opened in 2011. The Institute for Data Sciences, established in 2012, supports collaborations between data scientists and researchers in fields as varied as journalism, history, public health, urban planning, and cybersecurity. Eighteen professors affiliated with the institute, along with some ninety graduate students, will eventually be situated in the new space, which will open in 2015.
“The institute, with its interdisciplinary focus, in many ways represents the future of the school,” says engineering dean Mary C. Boyce. “This is a remarkable opportunity to strengthen a research enterprise that benefits the entire University.”