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Cornell Releases New Images of Eco-Friendly Roosevelt Island Tech Campus

By Amy Zimmer | October 15, 2012 1:03pm

MANHATTAN — When Cornell NYC Tech’s $2 billion 12-acre Roosevelt Island campus opens in 2017, it hopes the structure will be a model of energy efficiency and the program it houses will pave a new path to real-world entrepreneurship.

On Monday, Cornell released new images of its high-tech home as it kicked off the city’s seven-month, land-use review process for the massive project, which is expected to take shape over three decades.

The first building — designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne and MorphosisArchitects — is slated to start construction in 2014 and open in 2017, with the full campus’s 2.1 million square feet expected to be ready by 2037.

Mayne’s cutting-edge academic building is aiming to be a net-zero structure, meaning it will create as much energy from renewable resources on-site as it uses each year.

Preliminary renderings show a rooftop photovoltaic canopy that will generate much of the energy needed to make it one of the largest energy-neutral buildings in the nation, school officials said.

“Our campus won’t look like any other university campus that exists today,” Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of Cornell Tech, said in a statement.

“We are determined to innovate in every aspect of the development, from the way that students, faculty, researchers, industry and the local community are intermingled, to the sustainability of our buildings and their iconic architecture."

The campus master plan, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, includes a series of public open spaces that will connect to the new Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park at the island’s southern tip, set to open Oct. 24 after Wednesday's dedication ceremony.

The buildings aim to “seamlessly connect” outdoor and indoor spaces, including a big public café on the ground floor of Mayne’s building that extends under the canopy in nice weather.

Besides Mayne’s academic building, the project’s first phase is slated to include a residential building for students and faculty and a building that would house classrooms and corporate offices.

In another nod to demonstrate its commitment to fostering economic development beyond the ivory tower, Cornell Tech announced earlier this month the first of its kind partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce to bring full-time U.S. Patent and Trademark Office personnel to the campus.

Cornell Tech’s vice president Cathy Dove said that school officials have been meeting with Roosevelt Islanders for their input over the past nine months, following’s the school’s successful bid for the Bloomberg administration’s campus contest.

The school is currently accepting applications for its “beta” class of computer science master of engineering students. These students will start in January in a temporary space donated by Google in Chelsea.