In collaboration with Cornell University, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the City of New York, SOM is master planning and building Cornell Tech, a new applied science university. Free of academic departments, the school will feature an open and collaborative community of designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and scientists who are blurring the boundary between the academic and commercial world.
Such an ambitious program requires a campus that actively fosters interaction and creativity. SOM's scheme emphasizes the open nature of the pedagogy with a boundary-free, 12.4-acre campus knit into the promenades and green spaces of Roosevelt Island. The campus will offer expansive views of the Queens waterfront and the iconic Manhattan skyline.
A key feature of the master plan is Techwalk, a car-free pathway lined with outdoor "rooms," each uniquely programmed. Buildings are organized along this central spine. The plan calls for learning venues with open interiors and amenities such as cafes and exhibition spaces. Sustainability is also a driving force behind the design, with Phase I including the construction of New York City' s largest net-zero energy building.
Following the completion of the first phase in 2017, the campus will continue to expand until it reaches 2 million gross square feet. The master plan is highly adaptable and can evolve to accommodate each new generation of buildings.