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Cornell Names Six Finalists to Design Roosevelt Island Building

By Amy Zimmer | February 28, 2012 9:29am | Updated on February 28, 2012 12:58pm

MANHATTAN — What lucky architecture firm will get to design the first building for Cornell University’s $2 billion 10-acre tech campus on Roosevelt Island?

The Ivy League college announced a shortlist Tuesday of six world-famous firms culled from a field of 43 to design this first core academic structure, which will be a net-zero building — an eco-friendly structure that will limit energy waste by creating as much power as it will consume.

The high-profile list of firms includes Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), which is designing One World Trade Center; High Line architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro; and Morphosis, led by Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne, whose Cooper Union building has been turning heads at 41 Cooper Square.

Also on the list are OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), founded by famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, who has written extensively about New York architecture and designed 23 East 22nd St.; Steven Holl Architects, which won accolades for a building at Pratt Institute; and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, which has designed Apple stores around the world, including the company's Fifth Avenue, 14th Street, SoHo and the Upper West Side locations.

To prepare for the design phase, the school is working on a master plan for the buildings and public spaces with a team from SOM that helped develop Cornell’s winning proposal — which earned them free city-owned land and $100 million in public funding for infrastructure.  Landscape architects from James Corner Field Operations, the lead designer on the High Line and on the park being created at Fresh Kills, are also working on the master plan.

"We were incredibly impressed by the quality represented in the 43 firms originally considered for designing our core building," Cornell NYC Tech Vice President Cathy Dove said.

“Our goal is that this first building exemplify sustainable design principles, represent a forward-looking attitude and form vibrant and contemplative public spaces that can be expanded through future buildings.”

Cornell will select a winner in April, school officials said.