The Cornell Column

Written by Contributor.

Andrew Winters
Director of Capital Projects
Cornell NYC Tech

As Roosevelt Islanders know, Cornell Tech has spent the past year working on demolition in preparation for Phase 1 of our campus. This month, we have officially begun construction on the campus, starting with the First Academic Building, designed by Prtizker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis. I want to thank all of you for your cooperation, enthusiasm, and input as we build a new state-of-the-art campus, and work to reinvent the tech economy right here in New York City.

Before starting demolition, we heard Roosevelt Islanders’ concerns, and decided to undertake an unprecedented effort to reduce the impact of our construction on the Island, with a specific focus on trucking. We implemented the most aggressive voluntary barging program in New York City. To date, I am happy to report that, through our use of barging, we have removed 14,250 tons of waste by barge, avoiding approximately 3,325-3,550 trucks. Many of you have seen the barge coming to and going from the Island – those numbers are growing every week.

We will continue to meet our commitment to reduce construction-related truck traffic on Main Street by 40%, as we expand our barging efforts to include delivery of certain materials and equipment for new construction, in addition to debris removal from demolition.

The first phase of Cornell Tech’s campus is due to open in summer 2017. The First Academic Building now under construction is a departure from traditional academic facilities, embracing the tech startup model of open floor plans and flexible workspaces. The building will be among the largest net-zero energy buildings in the United States, with all of its power generated on campus. Inside the building, we will display the historic Bolotowsky mural that we uncovered at the Goldwater Hospital and had restored by local conservators, Fine Art Conservation Group.

Beyond the First Academic Building, the Phase 1 buildings will include the corporate co-location building, designed by Weiss/Manfredi and developed by Forest City Ratner Companies. The corporate co-location building will bring tech companies – both established organizations and start-ups – to the campus to collaborate with students, faculty, and researchers. Handel Architects designed the residential building, which will incorporate passive design features to reduce energy use, and will be developed by Hudson and Related Companies. The executive education center will house a variety of programs targeted toward senior-level executives and managers, helping to further Cornell Tech’s mission of tech innovation and commercialization.

We expect to break ground on the co-location building, residential building, and a central utility plant later this year, and will keep the community updated about increased construction activities.

While we won’t officially move to Roosevelt Island until summer 2017, we are already becoming integrated into the community. Diane Levitt, our K-12 Director, is developing tech programming with PS/IS 217, and Jane Swanson, our community liaison who many of you know well, is on the Island twice a week at the RIVAA Gallery on Main Street, where anyone can stop in to chat with her about the campus plans.

As we move forward with construction of the campus, please visit for updates and information, and to get in touch with us. We also regularly post the results of our air-quality monitoring at the construction site on this website. And be sure to check out the photo section, which we are updating every month with images from the construction process!

Tags: Cornell

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