Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus


© Kilograph

© Kilograph

© Kilograph

© Kilograph

© Kilograph

© Kilograph

Courtesy of Cornell Tech

Master plan: SOM (Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill)
First Academic Building: Morphosis
Colocation Building: Weiss/Manfredi Architecture
Residential tower : Handel Architects
Location: New York City, USA
Groundbreaking is expected to start in 2014

Three buildings have undergone design development since the approval of SOM’s original master plan: the First Academic Building (Morphosis), the Colocation Building (Weiss/Manfredi Architecture), and the 350-unit residential tower (Handel Architects). These facilities will be connected by a quarter-mile-long ‘tech walk’, designed by James Corner’sField Operations, which serves as a spine that weaves together the ensemble of buildings whilst functioning as a public pedestrian space that spans the campus’ twelve acres.


Sustainable practices are core design principles for the new campus, with design schemes aiming to generate enough energy to run the First Academic Building. Per the latest images, the academic and colocation building’s roofs will both feature solar cells. “It’s literally a lily pad and the building is under this thing,” describes Mayne.

In attempts to create a visual axial connection to the existing Manhattan grid, the First Academic Building’s entry aligns with 57th street from across the East River. “The lack of privacy,” Mayne adds, “is a radical promotion of transparency.”

During a December city council meeting, officials from Cornell, along with all of the architects, discussed the topic of flexibility. The exponential advances in technology and engineering has left many laboratories obsolete, thus requiring building interiors to become easily adaptable.


“This particular building,” explains Marion Weiss, “is an invention,” designed to be a concentrated hothouse of academia and industry. By splitting the building in two and allowing the exterior landscape to seamlessly spill into its core, students and entrepreneurs will share spaces meant to foster interaction with the larger, more public tech community.

The Residential Tower

Handel Architects — the latest recruitment in the roster of architects — is still in the process of designing the residential tower, projected to house students, faculty and staff in a mixture of micro-units, one-, two- and three-bedroom suites. Planned amenities include a gym, bike room, lounge, roof deck, multi-purpose collaboration and media rooms. The images depicting the residential towers does not represent the current or final design.

Source: SOM (Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill)/ Morphosis/ Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/ Handel Architects/ Archdaily
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