Shawmut Design and Construction completes renovation Columbia University Irving Medical Center

January 14, 2019

Shawmut Design and Construction, a leading $1.2 billion national construction management firm, announces the completion of the Alumni Auditorium renovation at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC). Shawmut, along with design-partner MdeAS Architects, reimagined the once fortress-like auditorium to deliver a highly sophisticated, bright, welcoming, and modern learning environment and assembly space where employees, students, and visitors can gather, share ideas, and innovate.

“We’re so honored to be a part of this extensive renovation that dramatically enhances one of the most prominent areas of CUIMC. The new, contemporary, light-filled Alumni Auditorium befits the groundbreaking achievements occurring on campus,” said Steven Giordano, vice president at Shawmut. “Our expertise in working in bustling, urban institutional environments gave us the certainty that no disruptions to the neighboring institutions would occur during construction.”

The first phase of the renovation, completed in September 2017, centered on updating the 6,464-square-foot auditorium with 648 new seats that feature table arms, charging stations, and USB ports. Phase two, completed this fall, further enhanced the auditorium with a soaring new ceiling, LED lights, upgraded fire alarm and sprinkler systems, high-end acoustic integrated walls, and a new, state-of-the-art audiovisual system.

The second phase of the project also unveiled the newly erected, three-story glass façade and the reconfigured 3,000-square-foot lobby, now known as the Schaefer Awards Gallery. The façade’s high-performance, laminated glass panels allow for an abundance of light to fill the gallery, illuminating the sculptural ash millwork that curves impressively overheard. Motorized bottom-up shades create privacy for the glass-enclosed space, when needed. The gallery offers direct passages to adjacent buildings and student amenities, including the William Black Building and Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. The auditorium’s presence along Upper Manhattan’s busy West 168th Street now offers a strong, visual connection to its urban environment, further establishing it as the main artery to the CUIMC campus.

Since the Alumni Auditorium building is shared with another medical facility, Shawmut ensured that the installation and demolition of combustion air ducts and enclosures would not impact the fresh air intake for the adjacent hospital’s basement-level mechanical system. The Shawmut team was also responsible for the installation of the new ADA lift from the lobby to the auditorium, new HVAC, electrical, and mechanical infrastructure, and upgraded lighting and interior finishes throughout.

Alumni Auditorium at CUIMC represents the latest in a series of high-profile projects for Shawmut’s Tri-State division, including NYU Langone Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Pratt Institute.

About Shawmut Design and Construction

Shawmut Design and Construction is a $1.2 billion national construction management firm with a reputation for completing extremely complex and logistically challenging projects for the most high-profile clients in the industry. As an ESOP (employee-owned) company, Shawmut has created a culture of ownership, proactive solution-making, and forward thinking. Eighty percent of its business comes from repeat clients, proving there is a strong focus on building lasting partnerships. Shawmut’s unique business model allows project teams to better service clients by focusing their specialized expertise within one of the following areas: Academic, Tenant Interiors, Cultural & Historic, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Hotel, Luxury Homes, Restaurant, Retail, and Sports Venues. Shawmut has offices located in Boston, Providence, New York, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. For more information, please visit