The first building of Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island campus officially opened on Wednesday, set to be the first net-zero university building in New York City. Known as the Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center, named after former Mayor Michael Bloomberg who donated $100 million for the project, the four-story 160,000-square foot academic building will be the intellectual nerve center of Cornell Tech. Designed by Morphosis Architects, the building has a photovoltaic canopy and an aluminum-paneled facade.
The construction of the sustainable campus comes after a contest created by Mayor Bloomberg in 2010 that invited universities to open an applied-science graduate center. Cornell University and Technion Israel Institute of Technology were awarded the $100 million prize in addition to the land on Roosevelt Island. According to Morphosis founder Thom Mayne, “With the Bloomberg Center, we’ve pushed the boundaries of current energy efficiency practices and set a new standard for building development in New York City.”
According to a press release from the architects, the building’s distinct facade balances transparency with opacity, maximizing daylight and exterior views, as well as insulation while reducing thermal bridging. The outer layer of the facade is made of aluminum panels covered with an iridescent PPG polymer coating. In collaboration with the architectural metal fabricator, Zahner, the facade also creates image patterning.
The net zero building, which means it will produce more electricity than it uses, will also not use any fossil fuels. Other environmentally friendly features include a green roof with native species, a highly insulated facade, geothermal wells and a rainwater collection system.
The Bloomberg Center’s opening marks just one of three new buildings planned for the campus, with two other major phases of construction planned to open by 2037. When fully completed, the campus will serve more than 2,000 graduate students with hundreds of staff on about two million square feet of buildings and two acres of open space.
Governor Andrew Cuomo celebrated the building’s opening during the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, commending it for its energy-efficiency. “In New York, we know the future is what we make it,” Cuomo said. “We know what needs to be done and we are doing. And we know we can do it because it is happening. It’s about building the state-of-the-art infrastructure.”
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All images courtesy of Matthew Carbone for Morphosis Architects
Neighborhoods : Roosevelt Island