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Columbia GSAPP installs Avery SPOT

Averyspot 9957
Photo by Nicholas Knight.
Avery SPOT is a student-designed temporary outdoor pavilion on Columbia’s Morningside Campus that features an LED-illuminated inflatable canopy.
Press Release
April 30, 2020

The Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (Columbia GSAPP) is pleased to present the outdoor pavilion Avery SPOT, designed and constructed by students in the Spring 2021 seminar “The Outside Project” led by faculty Laurie Hawkinson and Galia Solomonoff. The seminar is a collaborative initiative to design, build, and program a temporary pavilion structure that was erected in April 2021 by the students in the plaza between Avery, Fayerweather, and Schermerhorn Halls on Columbia University’s Morningside Heights Campus. The pavilion is being used for GSAPP events and celebrates the reunion of students and faculty on campus during the April 29 and May 1, 2021 Columbia GSAPP commencement activities.

The seminar began with research of precedents for temporary pavilions and progressed into the design, feasibility studies, structural and mechanical consulting and review, project management, budget management, and final construction of the pavilion. There were two principal components to completing Avery SPOT: the inflatable canopy and accompanying hybrid online and in-person programming.


The 600-pound inflatable canopy above Avery Plaza is anchored by four steel beams in Avery and Fayerweather Halls and four anchor points, and is fabricated by areacubica. During construction, students installed LED lights within the inflatable to establish an omnipresent glow below the canopy at night. LEDs are powered via solar panels located at the base of the pavilion. 

The canopy uses a rain chain to divert water from the platform and prevent water buildup and additional weight. The platform program features social distancing circles organized in three colored arrangements to accommodate casual meetings, outdoor seminars, and formal lectures. A projector-stand and large screens are built into the platform to accommodate hybrid events. To create a stark contrast with the artificial materiality of the inflatable, the ground component celebrates natural textures including four live-edge cedar benches. 

Project Team

Columbia GSAPP students include: Zina Berrada (‘23 M.ARCH), Eleanor Birle (‘23 M.ARCH), Jiyong Chun (‘21 M.S.AAD), Marie Christine Dimitri (‘21 M.S.AAD), Anays Gonzalez Sanchez (‘22 M.ARCH), Lin Hou (‘21 M.S.RED/M.ARCH), Nanjia Jiang (‘21 M.S.AAD), Blake Kem (‘23 M.ARCH), Cecile Kim (‘23 M.ARCH), Kim Langat (‘23 M.ARCH), Kassandra Lee (‘21 M.S.RED/M.ARCH), Cherry Xinyi Qu (’21 M.S.RED/M.ARCH), Vera Montare Savory (‘21 M.ARCH), Tristan Schendel (‘21 M.ARCH), Lauren Scott (‘22 M.ARCH), Kaeli Alika Streeter (‘22 M.ARCH), Taylor Urbshott (‘21 M.ARCH), Xindi Wang (‘21 MS.AUD), Eunjin Yoo (‘21 M.S.AAD), and Elie Zeinoun (‘21 M.ARCH).

The project was supported by Dean Amale Andraos and led by Professor Laurie Hawkinson and Associate Professor of Professional Practice Galia Solomonoff, with additional support from Mark Taylor, Director of Facilities; Joshua Jordan, Making Studio Director; and Yonah Elorza, Making Studio Manager; among many others at Columbia GSAPP. Additional support and consulting was provided by Alex Mann, Sylvester Black from Silman Structural Engineers, and Astrid Sardinas from Buro Happold for Mechanical Engineering. Fabrication was done at the GSAPP Making Studio, areacubica, and Robert Rising of NY City Slab. Special thanks to Columbia University Assistant Professor of History Frank Guridy, whose office is occupied by a 300-pound steel structural brace. 

Access and additional Information

The Columbia University campus is open, and Avery SPOT is most easily accessed by entering at the St. Paul’s Chapel gate on Amsterdam Avenue between 116 and 118 Street. For maps, directions, and additional visitor information please see the University Visitor Center webpage.

Images are available by request. For additional information, please see:
2021 End of Year Show and Avery SPOT on Instagram.

About Columbia GSAPP

Among the world’s leading research universities, Columbia University in the City of New York continuously seeks to advance the frontiers of scholarship and foster a campus community deeply engaged in the complex issues of our time. Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (Columbia GSAPP) offers a range of programs in architecture, historic preservation, planning, real estate development, and urban design that bring together imagination, experimentation, and critical thinking towards new forms of practice. GSAPP is committed to shaping a more equitable, sustainable, and creative world by engaging architecture and the built environment from diverse and global perspectives. The school functions as an urban condenser of ideas and drives innovation and change through the leadership of its faculty, the excellence of its academic programs, the expansion of interdisciplinary opportunities as well as the richness of its research initiatives and events.

More information about Columbia GSAPP’s academic programs and research initiatives, public exhibitions and events, and publications can be found at arch.columbia.edu.