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Friday, June 28, 2013

Report From Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove - Creating A Vibrant, Open Roosevelt Island Campus, Corporate Co Location Building And Partnering With Developer Forest City Ratner

Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove 

 Image of Cathy Dove From Crains NY Business

sends this report to the Roosevelt Island community.
Creating a Vibrant and Open Campus

Now that we have completed the Cityʼs land use review process for the Cornell Tech campus, our planning is advancing and our vision for the campus is coming into clearer focus every day as we move toward aground breaking early next year. In this column we are stepping back from some of the details weʼve been focused on for the past few months and are taking a look at how weʼre working to make the campus active, open and engaging from the day we open in 2017. We made great progress on that front this week with the announcement of a partnership with Forest City Ratner to build one of the key buildings on campus, which Iʼll describe in greater detail below.

When we open our doors in 2017 itʼs important that the campus feel like a complete and wonderful place for students, faculty, staff, Islanders, companies and visitors. This is true both from a design perspective – with attractive and usable open space and a mix of building types and activities – and from a program perspective – with all of the components needed to achieve our academic mission.

When you approach the campus in 2017 and beyond, youʼll be welcomed by the first academic building at the campusʼ main entrance at the northwest corner of the site. As you may know, this building is being designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis. We released some very exciting renderings early this year. Since then the building has evolved and improved through the design process as we get closer to a final design. We will have new renderings to share in the fall and we couldnʼt be more excited about how this signature building is coming together.

The campus is designed to be open – and the architecture of the academic building also follows this principle. It will be open and permeable, inside and out. Inside, it will promote collaboration and an open exchange of ideas between students, faculty, researchers and the industry partners who will work with us. Outside, the building is being designed to welcome the community, with transparent lower floors and a public cafe that spills out on to the open space in warm weather.

The next key piece of the campus is the corporate co-location (“co-lo”) building. This building is a big part of what differentiates Cornell Tech – it will bring private companies directly onto the campus, promoting collaboration between academia and industry, helping to remove friction that can inhibit innovation. Industry plays a key role throughout the curriculum – companies are already partnering with us on special projects, weekly practicum courses and as mentors – but it is also important to have significant interaction as part of the overall campus activity. The way to do that is to provide space for relevant organizations to “co-locate” at the Cornell Tech campus.

The co-lo building will include between 150- 200,000 square feet of flexible space, with a diverse mix of tenants including both start-ups and established organizations. There will be a balance of incubator space, innovation centers for bigger companies and adaptable space for relevant organizations to spend time on the campus. The building will include flexible, open floor plans with common spaces to facilitate meetings and serendipitous, informal interactions between students, faculty and companies. We expect that leading-edge companies of all sizes and life-stages will be drawn to the innovation and energy of Cornell Tech, helping to accelerate the already rapid growth of New Yorkʼs tech sector. Cornell Tech will also occupy space in the building, further cementing the connection between academics and industry on campus.

We announced a major advancement regarding this building this week with the selection of Forest City Ratner Companies to develop the building, subject to finalizing plans and terms. Forest City Ratner would also oversee development of the first academic building, the open space and related infrastructure for the first phase of the campus, ensuring a coordinated approach to construction. The award- winning architecture, landscape and urbanism firm, WEISS/ MANFREDI will be the architect of the co-location building, furthering Cornell Techʼs commitment to innovation in design for this campus. Early concept drawings reflect a design that is equal to the significant architecture of the first academic building, and the overall beauty of Roosevelt Island. Now that the team is in place, we will begin the design process in seriousness, and look forward to sharing preliminary concepts with the community later this year.

This announcement was a major milestone for a number of reasons. The participation of a great partner in Forest City Ratner ensures we will be working with an extraordinarily capable firm. In addition, our plan always envisioned working with partners such as Forest City Ratner as a way to meet our aggressive timeline and to have a vibrant mix of activities when the campus opens in 2017.

We hope to have similar news to share about the first residential building and possibly our executive education center in the coming months, which would round out the first phase of the campus. I look forward to keeping everyone updated as this exciting new campus moves forward!