Wien Hall

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Built 1924
Renovated 2001
Population 368 Forsaken Souls
University Residence Halls
548 West 113th Street600 West 113th StreetBroadwayCarmanEast Campus47 ClaremontFurnaldHarmonyHartleyHoganJohn JayMcBainRiverRugglesSchapiroWallachWattWienWoodbridge

Wien is a relatively decrepit residence hall. In 2001, the whole building got new windows and new tile floors.

The juxtaposition of President Bollinger's recently multi-million dollar renovated house directly behind Wien only serves to underscore how awful Wien is as a housing option. It also helps give Wien the nickname "PrezBo's Projects." Slightly more endearing terms include "Fort Awesome", used by Wien-bound residents in denial, and "PrezBo's Guesthouse". Wien residents are sometimes known as Wieners. No kidding.

Wien was traditionally full of sophomores, but today most singles go to juniors, and only the doubles go to sophomores.



The site of Wien Hall was originally occupied by a building from the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum, but the building was demolished upon the construction of Low Library. The rumor that Wien Hall used to be an insane asylum is therefore false. Wien does indeed resemble an insane asylum with its disheveled appearance, barred windows, personal sinks, large wooden doors, and permanently open vents. However, Buell Hall is the only remaining building from the asylum.

At some point before Word War II, the university recognized that the diminutive Hartley, Livingston (now Wallach), and Furnald would not be able to accommodate the student body, which was approaching 17,000. Thus, in 1925, Columbia built Johnson Hall, named for Samuel Johnson, the first President of King's College, and his son William Samuel Johnson, the first President of Columbia College.

Johnson was built along with John Jay as a high-rise to accommodate as many students as possible. Since Johnson was in the far east of the campus, it was designated for female students to distance them from the men, who could be distracted by females. It was built for graduate students because the administration didn't care about undergraduates.

McKim, Mead, and White designed the building, but did not follow the architectural pattern of the main part of the campus. The interior was decorated in the Colonial style, rich with carpets, curtains, and drapes, supposedly to evoke a homely and feminine ambiance, in contrast to John Jay's masculine interior. Like John Jay, Johnson was more than just a dormitory. It housed an infirmary, a student activities center, and the bottom floor was meant to house a refectory, but this was never built. Several decades later, Columbia revisited the idea of placing a refectory on the ground floor, but historical preservation guidelines strictly forbade any kitchen equipment.

Johnson's most famous female graduate student was Pulitzer Prize winning author Eudora Welty, who spent a year at Columbia Business School in 1930. The residence hall became Columbia's first co-educational dorm when SEAS started to admit women in the 1970s. In 1984, Lawrence A. Wien began a spate of generous giving to Columbia, culminating in the construction of Wien Stadium. Johnson Hall was renamed in his honor.


All rooms have their own sink.


  • Floor 12: rooms 1218 and 1220 have their own toilet.


  • 8 big walk-through doubles
  • 22 other walk-through doubles
  • 6 doubles
  • 297 singles

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Great views from many rooms.
  • 03, 06 and 41 lines are >135 sq ft singles.
  • 44 line on floors 3-9 is a 145 sq ft single.
  • 642/642A and 742/742A are walk-through doubles with private bathrooms and lots of windows.
  • 1223 and 1224 are enormous doubles with an interconnecting private bathroom, and 7 windows with fantastic views.


  • No floor kitchens. (Kitchen Facility with 2 stoves, 2 ovens, and a Microwave located in basement)
  • No floor lounges/TVs (single big screen TV located in basement)
  • Lots of sound leakage due to thin walls and permanently open door vents. Very little privacy.
  • Co-ed bathrooms - soon to be unisex bathroom on alternating floors.
  • Poor elevators.
  • Floor 4 bathroom shower heads are installed too low.


Floor plans


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