Furnald Hall

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Built 1913
Renovated 1996
Population 235
University Residence Halls
548 West 113th Street600 West 113th StreetBroadwayCarmanEast Campus47 ClaremontFurnaldHarmonyHartleyHoganJohn JayMcBainRiverRugglesSchapiroWallachWattWienWoodbridge

Furnald is a popular, but controversial, residence hall.

For a long time, only seniors were able to get rooms in Furnald in the Room Selection process. It was very popular, not least because it had its own bar in the basement, which reached legendary status.

Today, after being completely renovated, Furnald is a first year and sophomore residence hall. Therefore, first years who aren't housed in Carman, John Jay or the Living Learning Center, still get to live in the quad and are protected to some extent from juniors and seniors. The remaining space is open to rising sophomores in General Selection. Typically, only sophomores with lottery numbers between 1 and 500 (about 100 or so lucky souls) are able to get rooms in Furnald.



Furnald Hall was funded by a bequest from Francis Furnald in memory of his son, Royal Blackler Furnald (CC 1901). Francis Furnald's will specified that the money would go to Columbia only upon the death of his wife, Mrs Sarah E. Furnald, since she was intended to live on the interest from the money. Mrs Furnald was nowhere close to dying of old age at the time or so people guessed. Columbia's Trustees wanted the money so they offered Mrs Furnald lifetime annuities equal to the amount of return the investment would receive at market rate in return for the lump sum. Mrs Furnald accepted, Columbia received the money, and paid Mrs Furnald until her death in 1920. Furnald Hall was designed by McKim, Mead, and White, and opened in 1913.

During World War I, Furnald was a residence for female graduate students. During World War II, it housed "ninety-day wonder" commissioned naval officers, who were sent off to war after only three months of officer training. It then became a law school dormitory, before once again becoming an undergraduate residence hall in 1960.

In 1995, Furnald was falling apart. Hartley and Wallach Halls had benefited from major renovation and reconstruction in the 1960s and 1970s due to the generosity of Ira D. Wallach and Jerome L. Greene, but Furnald did not. President George Rupp ordered a $12m complete gutting and rebuilding.


  • All rooms have carpets, air conditioning.
  • Spacious Lounge and fully equipped Kitchen on each floor


  • 7 doubles
  • 109 singles

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Convenient location near Lerner, and, well, everything. (Perhaps the best location on campus.)
  • Great campus and Broadway views.
  • Nice bathrooms.
  • Singles for a lucky few sophomores!
  • Air conditioning.
  • Lots of closet space.
  • Floors 1, 2 and 10 have especially large rooms.
  • 1002 is an architecturally interesting room.


  • Quiet and antisocial compared to other first year dorms, and some 'sophomore' dorms.
  • Poor choice for most first years. Half of Furnald is designated for sophomores, who tend to keep to themselves as they already have existing social networks spread across campus rather than centered in a particular dorm. As a result the building generally lacks the spontaneity and social atmosphere that JJ and Carman provide, being fully occupied by eager beaver freshmen who all want to get to know each other. Where else would it be acceptable to introduce yourself to everyone else in a crowded elevator without getting condescending looks of disgust?
  • Ideal choice for first years who are independent operators and like lots of privacy.


Floor plans


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