Columbia University – Walter & Shirley Fan Wang eSports Room

  • area / size 1,200 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • Desai Chia Architecture completed the Walter & Shirley Fan Wang eSports Room for Columbia University in New York City, New York.

    We transformed a marginally used residence hall lounge into a competition level eSports room, integrating technology with a powerfully unique experience on campus. The project became a university priority with the growing popularity of the student-led eSports club and eGaming intramurals division. This place expresses the vibrant digital world of eSports and eGaming with bold forms; the room manifests as an immersive light installation. Two new structures—the “Brain” and the “Blade”– organize the eSports stations and mechanical infrastructure. The Brain is a cubic core that holds the computer control equipment; cabling and wiring are fully accessible and flexible for future upgrades. Also embedded in the Brain: a dedicated, energy efficient HVAC system that maintains a consistent temperature for the students and the computers. The Brain is skinned in perforated stainless-steel panels that allow ventilation into the inner chambers. Inset, faceted acoustical panels absorb sound. One side of the Brain has sofa seating for console gaming (PlayStation, Xbox, etc.) and the other side has six professional gaming seats with adjustable height desks. The Blade, a second independent structure opposite the Brain, defines twelve additional gaming stations. The overall design of the room provides flexibility for a range of configurations: individual or team play, intercollegiate tournaments, an eSports summer camp, and an eSports training facility. The lighting concepts revolve around SHiFT, a 24’ suspended colored light installation by a light artist. A visually energetic line of light between the Brain and the Blade is fed by continuously animated collages of contemporary video games, late 19th century Regina phone discs, and fantastical celestial photography of the Crab Nebula. The hues of SHiFT flow into the architectural light coves that bathe walls in sympathetic colors. Students can select from a variety of lighting “looks” for the room while a calendar program refreshes the lighting shows daily to amplify the visual immersion.

    Design: Desai Chia Architecture
    Contractor: Richter & Ratner
    Lighting: Christine Sciulli Light + Design
    Photography: Paul Warchol