Arper at the Roy and Diana Vagelos Centre

© Iwan Baan

Located in the heart of New York City, the Roy and Diana Vagelos Centre, a new medical education building designed by the firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, aims to offer its medical students a space where the lines between education and life are completely blurred.

© Nic Lehoux; © Iwan Baan

The building is part of the Columbia University in New York and is defined by the ‘Study Cascade’, an interconnected network of exuberant, airy, light-filled spaces extending from the street up the façade of the 14-story tower.

Charles Renfro, partner at the Diller Scofidio + Renfro was the partner and principal designer of the Columbia University’s Roy and Diana Vagelos Center. While researching for the project, he found that medical students tend to spend the majority of their days (and more often than not, also their nights) at the faculty. This is why the design of the building needed to be particularly student-focused, receipting, accommodating and thoughtful.

© Nic Lehoux

Arper’s Palm, Catifa 46, Ginger, Loop, Ply and Catifa Sensit were selected as part of the project. Because of their soft, human-centric and relaxed design, these collections blend in perfectly with the surrounding architecture.

When interviewed by Arper on the project, Renfro said: “The new way that people are teaching and learning is much more informal. It is much more serendipitous. It is much more about encountering your peers on a stair, or in a lounge, or in a cafe. Those are still educational moments.

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“Flexibility is about having a variety of specificity. Spaces that are unique and have character and quality. Whatever you need to do, you can find a space that meets your needs."

“The building needed to become a tool in the students’ education in getting to know each other, in peer-to-peer learning, but also to provide them with spaces of relaxation because they are there all the time. The design is student-centered and social-life centered, where learning and relaxing actually weave together sort of seamlessly.”

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