Columbia University is the oldest institution of higher learning in New York, and the fifth oldest in the USA. Fans of history and of architecture will be interested in the university’s historic buildings, which have been highlighted in many feature films. Most notable is Low Memorial Library, which appears in the New York City Register of Historic Places. Built in the Roman classical style, the former library now contains the university’s visitor center and its administration offices.
Just below the library is a large plaza – a popular gathering place for students. Past a promenade (called College Walk) is the south campus where Butler Library, Columbia’s main library, stands. South campus also contains the student center, student residences, classroom buildings, and the Graduate School of Journalism. North of Low Library is Pupin Hall, a national historic landmark due to the atomic research done there by Columbia's scientists. East of Low Library is St. Paul's Chapel, which also appears in New York City’s Register of Historic Places.
The university also has many modern buildings, and visitors can download an audio walking tour of the architecture to their audio devices. The tour is guided by Andrew Dolkart, an architectural historian and a professor of architectural history at Columbia. Starting at the visitors center in Low Library, the tour includes almost two dozen stops at the university’s architectural highlights.
Groups smaller than ten people may feel free to tour the campus on their own. Maps and other materials for self-guided tours are available online and at the university’s visitors center. Visitors with disabilities may request an accessible campus tour (three weeks advance notice is required). The visitors center is open Monday – Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The only building visitors without a Columbia ID are allowed to enter is Low Library.