Manhattanville, Ready to Rise

Construction site
Paul Lowry

Since construction began on the Jerome L. Greene Science Center in Manhattanville in 2011, most of the work has taken place at street level or below, out of view of passersby: workers have created an underground slurry wall to keep water from seeping beneath the building’s foundation; they have put a steel grid down upon the building’s footprint; and they have poured an enormous concrete slab that will form its main floor.

Now the Greene Science Center is about to rise. And it will rise quickly: between April and October, workers will bolt and weld into place its entire steel framework, reaching approximately 200 feet in the air, as they install its nine floors, one by one.

“We expect to have a topping-off ceremony in the fall,” says Joseph Ienuso, the University’s executive vice president of facilities. “This is how large projects typically proceed: for a while, it might seem that not a lot of progress is being made, and then one day you look up and suddenly the building has taken shape.”

Once the Greene Science Center’s structural steel is in place, workers will need another two and a half years to bring the Renzo Piano–designed glass and metal structure to completion. But the assembly of its big steel beams will represent a milestone for everybody involved, from the architects to the welders to the brain scientists who will eventually reside in it.

“It’s a moment of clarity,” says Ienuso. “You look and think to yourself: ‘This is really happening.’”