Low Memorial Library
Columbia University campus, Charles McKim of McKim Mead and White [1901]

Financed by former Brooklyn mayor and Columbia College President, Seth Low, who wanted a grandiose project with which to bolster the recognition of Columbia College as well as his 1903 mayoral campaign, this edifice was meant to serve as a library and classroom building. Spatial and structural inadequacies forced functional changes, and today it is Columbia's main administration building and memorial hall.

McKim's erudite design refers to numerous models, including the Pantheon, R. M. Hunt's Administration Building for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and the Library of Congress. With its monumental colonnaded temple front and prominent dome, the building was intended to be the centerpiece of Columbia's campus. It stands in sharp contrast to the stolid and simple brick and limestone classroom buildings.