We've been keeping an eye on Cornell and Technion's Roosevelt Island campus development -- perhaps as an A+ Award candidate? -- and it looks like things are finally picking up. Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne is in charge of designing the main academic building, while SOM will tackle the rest of the island's zoning laws, parameters, and outdated rules to create a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art science campus.
The true challenges of creating an applied science campus is making sure each building is flexible and relevant for many years to come. Technology has grown so quickly in the past two decades, it is difficult to imagine what will be needed or expected even five years from now.
The plan so far is to demolish the 1930s hospital buildings that current inhabit the area, revamp the one island road, and transform the 12.5 acre plot into a total of eight buildings by the year 2038, creating a whopping 2 million square feet of campus.
Details of Mayne's academic building are scarce, but we do know it will house a cafe and retail space, plenty of lounges for students to study and relax and an enormous outdoor space. The building will also feature a two-acre solar array on its roof, creating a net-zero building that generates as much power as it uses. Mayne promised the city a energy-efficient academic center, and each design decision about the building has hinged on that promise.
As for the rest of the campus, SOM is currently working on designing the two student dorm buildings, the only buildings on campus that will be allowed to stand taller than five stories. James Corner Field Operations, a firm that helped develop the city's High Line park, is creating schematics for the campus "Tech Walk," an elevated, central walkway between buildings that will withstand flooding for at least 100 years.
Images: courtesy of Cornell