Architectural Vision

At the heart of Barnard's campus will be The Cheryl and Philip Milstein Teaching and Learning Center, an inspiring interdisciplinary facility that will become the College’s academic and intellectual hub.

Its program is built upon a rich variety of diversified yet synergistic resources – all of which culminate in a celebrated new library.

The new library is designed to:

  • Significantly increase user seating by 90%
  • Expand Special Collections and Archives
  • Grow the total footprint of the library by 50%
  • Increase and enhance individual quiet study options
  • Encourage a variety of study spaces for group learning
  • Provide direct access to several outdoor terraces
  • Integrate state-of-the-art technology through multimedia labs
  • Enhance direct access to natural light

The library will be ‘book’-ended by two signature programs: the Digital Commons – hosting a diverse range of teaching labs and flexible learning spaces that utilize new media and digital technologies; and a Computational Science Center – bridging the sciences between Altschul Hall and The Milstein Center, and creating resources to support students and faculty in pioneering research.

In addition, The Milstein Center will integrate an expanded conference center that is physically connected to existing event space on campus; bring together interdisciplinary offices and collaborative space for Barnard’s social science departments, as well as provide a new home for Barnard’s signature programs such as Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the Barnard Center for Research on Women.

The Design

The Milstein Center's design, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, is a response to its signature location at the campus center, the lawn – while transforming a more connective campus experience at the heart of its scholarship, the library.  The building’s massing is tailored to its context through terracing that functions in a dual-purpose: to invite sunlight to the campus lawn, while being a respectful neighbor to its community.  The terraces extend the lawn up onto the building to create inviting outdoor spaces, relating to the library programs beyond. 

Like Barnard College itself, The Milstein Center will be a distinctive place of academic engagement and outreach.  The new building will be the physical embodiment of a culture of intellectual collaboration and interdisciplinary interchange to create cross-departmental ties, to stimulate global connections, to inspire students, and to foster a bond between students and faculty. 

The building’s material palette is expressive of the innovative programs found within its own walls, while respectfully engaging and connecting to its campus context with a natural metal material.

As a place for community and connections, the design bridges education and exploration – bringing together students, faculty and professionals in a both a scholarly and interactive setting.  The signature space of intellectual exchange is celebrated at the library – as a transformative place surrounded by books – both scholarly and inspiring – reflective of Barnard’s culture and centered at the library, at the heart of the campus.