The plot on which these laboratories are located was the last one available at Columbia University’s Morningside campus, and therefore the new gateway to the campus from its Manhattanville expansion. It was decided from the very beginning that the Northwest Corner would complete the campus and follow the formal parameters established by McKim, Mead & White, rather than be an iconic building. However, the building had to literally jump over a 1970s gymnasium, so, in order to respect its integrity, the facades had to be laid out as resistant elements. Accepting this structure’s design as an expression of its architecture became the project’s leitmotif. The drop between Morningside and 120th Street gave way to the café, a public space which underlines the building’s role as a gate into the campus. Here again is a building that proves that the challenges raised by a program and its location can, in fact, foster architectural innovation.