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Sustainability on Roosevelt Island: How Morphosis and Arup Are Making Cornell's Bloomberg Center Net Zero

© Cornell University / Kilograph
© Cornell University / Kilograph

When the first images of Cornell University's new campus on Roosevelt Island were unveiled last year, the First Academic Building (now known as the Bloomberg Center) was highlighted as a design driven by sustainability. In this interview, originally published by Arup's newly-revamped online magazine Arup Doggerel as "Net zero learning," Sarah Wesseler talks to members of the team from Morphosis, Arup and Cornell about how they designed the building to be one of the most sustainable education facilities in the world.

For its new tech-focused New York City campus, Cornell University set out to create one of America’s most sustainable university centers. With the net zero Bloomberg Center now in construction, I interviewed three leaders of the design team — Diana Allegretti, Assistant Director for Design and Construction at Cornell; Ung Joo Scott Lee, a principal at Morphosis; and Tom Rice, a structural engineer and project manager at Arup.

Bloomberg Center exterior rendering. Image © Morphosis Architects © Cornell University / Kilograph Bloomberg Center exterior rendering. Image © Cornell University / Kilograph © Cornell University / Kilograph

WEISS/MANFREDI Break Ground on "The Bridge" at Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus

WEISS/MANFREDI broke ground yesterday on Cornell Tech's pioneering building, "The Bridge." Spearheading the first phase of the $2 billion Roosevelt Island tech campus, the new building will "bridge" the gap between academia and industry, providing a seven-story "corporate co-location" loft where students and industry leaders will collaborate.  

“The Bridge is a crystalline incubator with river-to-river views and creates a three-dimensional crossroads, an ecosystem of innovation to catalyze collaboration between academics and entrepreneurs,” say design partners Marion Weiss and Michael A. Manfredi.

Four Freedoms Park: Louis Kahn's "Ancient Temple Precinct" in NYC

Built four decades after Louis Kahn's death, New York City's Four Freedoms Park - the architect's posthumous memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt and his policies - is becoming one of the architect's most popular urban spaces. In a recent article for the GuardianOliver Wainwright investigates what he describes as perhaps Kahn's "best project". Wainwright's spatial description of the monument is interweaved by fragments of Kahn's personal history, building up a picture of a space with "the feel of an ancient temple precinct" and "a finely nuanced landscape". Although Gina Pollara, who ultimately realised the plans in 2005, argues that Four Freedoms Park "stands as a memorial not only to FDR and the New Deal, but to Kahn himself", can a posthumous project ever be considered as an architect's best? Read the article in full here.

New Images Unveiled of Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus

New information has been released — along with a series of renders — seven months after the New York City Council approved Cornell University's two million square foot technology campus in Roosevelt Island. Envisioned as "a campus built for the next century," Cornell Tech's first set of buildings has tapped into the talent of some of the most respected architecture firms in the city: Morphosis' Pritzker Prize-winning Thom Mayne, Weiss/Manfredi Architecture, Handel Architects, and Skidmore Owings & Merrill.

New images of the buildings, after the break...

Council Approves Cornell’s Net-Zero Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island

City Council has approved Cornell’s two-million-square-foot tech campus planned to break ground in 2014 on New York’s Roosevelt Island. Masterplanned by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), the ambitious carbon positive campus will offer housing for 2,000 full-time graduate students, world-class education facilities, a hotel, a corporate co-location building, and more than an acre of public open space. Construction will commence with the first, state-of-the-art academic building that will be designed by Thom Mayne, founder ofMorphosis, who will incorporate the latest environmental advances, such as geothermal and solar power, to achieve net-zero energy for the landmark structure.

Postcard from Roosevelt Island, New York

© Hassan Bagheri
© Hassan Bagheri

This text was provided by San Francisco-based writer Kenneth Caldwell

One friend said, “It looks a bit austere.” At first glance, it probably is. But like so many great minimal environments, it asks for patience and generosity. You give, and in turn it gives back.

This is also what the artists Mark Rothko, Richard Serra, Donald Judd, and, more recently, Olafur Eliasson ask. Trust them with your time and you may be rewarded with a small measure of serenity—perhaps even with the connection between art and the divine that Dominique de Menil was so focused on. 

Designed by Louis Kahn, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is an outdoor sanctuary at the southern tip of what is now called Roosevelt Island, created as a memorial to FDR. The park opened last fall. Kahn’s gift took 40 years to be realized, but it presents a path for human beings to treat each other to peace.

Continue reading after the break...

CornellNYC selects Architect for Net-Zero Tech Campus

Master Plan Schematic Design © Cornell University
Master Plan Schematic Design © Cornell University

Today, Cornell University has announced their selection of Thom Mayne and Morphosis to design the first academic building for the CornellNYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island. Mayor Michael Bloomberg awarded the Roosevelt Island campus project to Cornell mid-December of last year. With plans to achieve net-zero, the campus is striving to become the new modern prototype for learning spaces worldwide.

“This project represents an extraordinary opportunity to explore the intersection of three territories: environmental performance, rethinking the academic workspace and the unique urban condition of Roosevelt Island,” Mayne said, as reported by Cornell University. “This nexus offers tremendous opportunities not only for CornellNYC Tech, but also for New York City.”

Continue reading for more.