Furnald Hall

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

Furnald is a popular and relatively well appointed residence hall located on South Lawn with other first-year-only dormitories.

Once upon a time Furnald was the territory of undergraduate seniors. It was very popular, not least because it allegedly had its own bar in the basement, which reached legendary status.[1]

Today, Furnald is a majority first-year residence hall that is also home to some sophomores. 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 largely insulated from upperclassmen. The remaining space is open to rising sophomores in General Selection. Until 2009, typically, only sophomores with lottery numbers between 1 and 500 (about 100 or so lucky souls) are able to get rooms in Furnald. After the opening of Harmony, 25 beds were converted to freshman rooms. Now, only 50 or so rising sophomores able to pick Furnald during General Selection.


Furnald Hall was funded by a bequest from Francis Furnald in memory of his son, Royal Blackler Furnald (CC 1901). It was designed by McKim, Mead, and White, and opened in 1913.

During World War I, Furnald was a residence for female graduate students. Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca lived there in 1929 and raved about the views, both of South Field and Broadway. 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. The protagonist of alumnus Herman Wouk's famous novel, The Caine Mutiny, was said to live in the building during this period.[2] After the war, it became a law school dormitory, before once again becoming an undergraduate residence hall in 1960.

When South Lawn still served as Columbia's primary athletics facility, Furnald's basement housed lockers, showers, and dressing rooms. The space later served as the site of a Co-Op Grocery until 1989.[3][4][5]

By the mid-90s, Furnald had fallen into a state of disrepair. Hartley and Wallach Hall 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, which was completed in 1996.[6] Furnald had traditionally been the domain of the senior class, and remained so until spring of 2000 when the administration informed students of plans to turn Furnald into an exclusively Freshman/Sophomore dormitory and launch the LLC in Hartely and Wallach. Naturally, the students, who hadn't been informed of the administration's intentions at any point, were furious, but to no avail.[7] Vestiges of Furnald's former status as a senior dormitory can be seen in the CUMB's tradition of ending Orgo Night performances on the steps of Furnald, where bandies sing the college alma mater, Sans Souci, to members of the band who will be graduating.

Most recently, as the University has made changes to handle the ongoing expansion of enrollment at Columbia College, the share of Furnald allocated to first-year students has steadily increased, with the displaced sophomores being able to find beds in the recently converted Harmony Hall and other bottom-of-the-barrel housing options.

Famous former residents


  • All rooms have air conditioning and are carpetless.
  • Each floor has a spacious lounge with a TV and fully-equipped kitchen.
  • Each floor has 2 large bathrooms (1 male, 1 female).
  • Single, fairly clean, laundry room located in basement.
  • Two elevators, one located at each end of the main corridor. They are unreliable and slow.


  • For first years, 78 singles and 17 doubles.
  • For sophomores, 109 singles and 7 doubles.
  • Floors 1, 2 and 10 have especially large rooms.
  • 1002 is an architecturally interesting room.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • 'Recently' renovated, so it almost feels like a new building.
  • Convenient location near Lerner, and, well, everything. Perhaps the best location on campus.
  • Great campus and Broadway views.
  • Nice bathrooms. Especially shower stalls for disabled people which have removable shower heads.
  • Air conditioning.
  • Lots of closet space.
  • The best place to get a single as a sophomore.
  • Ideal choice for independence-minded first years who want lots of privacy. (See below for why Furnald is a bad choice for most first years.)
  • Floor lounges have newly-renovated kitchens, so you can actually cook.


  • Until its more recent designation as a primarily first-year residence hall, Furnald had a reputation for being relatively quiet and antisocial. By 2009, that reputation was largely talk, though to this day it does indeed remain.
  • Kitchens are less useful for first years, since they are required to be on a meal plan.
  • Layout is not conducive to intra-floor socializing, since stairways and elevators are on the north and south ends of the hall, which somewhat isolates the north and south sides of the floor from one another.
  • Uncommon for people to leave their doors open (relative to other first year dorms).
  • Doubles are fairly small.


Floor plans

Building address

2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Tunnel/roof connections

Journalism Hall

Go down to the basement by means of the north staircase. Do not use the south staircase, where a camera will see you. The first machine room on your left has a connecting to Journalism in it, but it is locked most of the time. Occasionally the door is left open by maintenance. Furnald's basement is relatively high-traffic, so go late. Tape open the lock or jam the door if you see it open, maintenance has been known to do this and they won't think twice about it.

Butler tunnel system

Go down to the basement by means of the north staircase. Walk to the south end. Do not use the south staircase to come down to the basement as there is a camera. Turn left and the usually-locked door in front of you will take you into the tunnels. These tunnels are almost always locked, so you'll probably need to come out the way you came in. You will notice a prominent camera on the wall. The card-swiper's monitor shows this camera only so he/she will have a good view of you. DO NOT turn around and look north. Go fast past it and usually they won't care. Carman Hall and Butler Library are at the end of this system but are almost always locked. There is a moderate security risk and lots of traffic near the entrance.


This is the handicapped entrance to the basement. Interesting but not useful. The security danger of taking this tunnel outweighs visiting it. Go to the basement using the north staircase and walk to the south end where you will notice a camera and a way-overkill grate. Columbia really doesn't want people coming into the dorms without swiping. If you are lucky enough to happen upon this grate while it is unlocked, you will find it is nothing more than a short ramp up to the random camera-monitored door on the Broadway side of Furnald. Not that there is a very high security risk here. If you are lucky enough to find the grate unlocked and you enter, you will be noticed by the card-swiper. Campus security will come to find you, but they have no chance of discovering you if you hide. Cover your face so the camera doesn't catch it and don't take too long. Wait 20 mins after swiping in before coming here so you're forgotten by the swiper. Hide in one of Furnald's floor lounges for 20 mins before walking out the front door.



<googlemap lat="40.807335" lon="-73.963826" type="map" zoom="16" width="500" height="300" controls="small"> 40.807335, -73.963826, Furnald residence hall </googlemap>

External Links

Columbia Housing - Furnald