Casa Italiana

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Casa Italiana
2014 Columbia University Casa Italiana 1161 Amsterdam Avenue.jpg
Casa Italiana is located in New York City
Casa Italiana
Casa Italiana is located in New York
Casa Italiana
Casa Italiana is located in the US
Casa Italiana
Location1151-1161 Amsterdam Ave., New York, New York
Coordinates40°48′27″N 73°57′37″W / 40.80750°N 73.96028°W / 40.80750; -73.96028Coordinates: 40°48′27″N 73°57′37″W / 40.80750°N 73.96028°W / 40.80750; -73.96028
Architectural styleItalian Renaissance
NRHP reference #82001188[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 29, 1982
Designated NYCLMarch 28, 1978[2]

Casa Italiana is a building of Columbia University located at 1161 Amsterdam Avenue between West 116th and 118th Streets in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, which houses the university's Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America. It was built in 1926-27 and was designed by William M. Kendall of McKim, Mead & White in the Renaissance style, modeled after a 15th-century Roman palazzo.[3] The building was restored, and the east facade completed, in 1996 by Buttrick White & Burtis with Italo Rota as associate architect.


Casa Italiana originally opened as an outreach of the Italian government of Benito Mussolini in conjunction with then university President Nicholas Murray Butler. It eventually closed due to the controversy surrounding its connection with that Fascist government. The building reopened under the auspices of a later Italian government in 1991 and was restored in 1996.[4] The restoration was financed by having the Italian government buy the building and lease it back to Columbia for 500 years.[5] The structure is currently the home of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, the board of guarantors of which is half appointed by the university and half by the Italian government.[5]

In 2012, a lawsuit filed by the Italic Institute, an advocacy group, claimed that Columbia had breached its responsibilities in regard to the building. It claimed that the collection of 200,000 books donated to the building's library by real estate developer Charles V. Paterno had been broken up and moved to various buildings on campus. In addition, the university's Italian Department is no longer located in the building.[5]

Casa Italiana represents one of three buildings on the Columbia's campus landmarked by the city of New York, having achieved that status in 1978.[3] It was also added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ "NYCLPC Designation Report"
  3. ^ a b New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Dolkart, Andrew S.; Postal, Matthew A. (2009), Postal, Matthew A., ed., Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.), New York: John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1, p.195
  4. ^ White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot & Leadon, Fran (2010), AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.), New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780195383867, p.496
  5. ^ a b c Newcomer, Eric P. "Italian-American Group Suing Columbia for Misuse of Building Development Gift" The New York Times (August 23, 2012)

External links[edit]