Columbia University


14,000 SF





N/A – Study



N/A – Study




11/2019 – 3/2020 / 11/2019 – 3/2020





NA – Study

Columbia University launched the Eric H. Holder Jr. Initiative for Civil and Political Rights (Holder Initiative) in November 2017 with a goal to formally establish it as an Institute at Columbia focused on the rigorous consideration of major issues in civil and political rights facing the nation. In need of a physical space for it to occupy, Columbia University sought to explore the feasibility of housing it in a townhouse building owned by the University located at 635 West 115th Street. The goal of the project was to undertake a Feasibility Study to determine the requirements for converting the townhouse to serve its highest and best use for the Holder Initiative and other public use. The proposed program would consist of academic and administrative offices, instructional and meeting spaces, and public spaces.

Legacy Engineers provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection consulting engineering services for the Feasibility Study and evaluated Alternative Schemes for Columbia University’s consideration for new building systems, two traditional and two more modern all electric systems, as follows:

• Scheme 1: Gas-fired Rooftop Unit with Variable Air Volume Boxes

• Scheme 2: High Efficiency Air-cooled Chiller & Condensing Boiler with 2 or 4-Pipe Fan Coil Units

• Scheme 3: Variable Refrigerant Flow System with a Dedicated Outdoor Air System

• Scheme 4: Air-cooled to Water Heat Pump with a Dedicated Outdoor Air System

Columbia University with its goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, chose Schemes 3 & 4 for further cost evaluation analysis. The system would be controlled by state-of-the-art, smart building, cloud-based advanced technologies that integrate HVAC controls, lighting controls, audio visual and security on a single fiber backbone with the users’ I.T. network for scheduling sessions. A bi-polar ionization air purification system was also proposed for the building to provide enhanced indoor air quality for health and wellness. New electric, water and fire services with full life safety sprinkler and fire alarm systems were also proposed for the building.