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Multifunctional complex

The Bridge

Weiss-Manfredi

New York City is home to several of the world’s top academic institutions and it has now acquired another: Cornell Tech, located on Roosevelt Island, midway between Manhattan and Queens. The 2.4 hectare campus is located south of the Queensboro Bridge, which soars overhead to span the East River. Beyond is the Four Freedoms Memorial, a Louis Kahn project that was realized, long after the master’s death, at the tip of the island. The landscaped campus was master-planned by SOM to include ten buildings on a site that embraces stunning views of water and city. The first three have been completed: a slender residential tower by Handel Architects, Morphosis’s Bloomberg Center, and The Bridge by Weiss/Manfredi. Seven more are to be added over the next 25 years on an undulating expanse of lawn, formerly occupied by hospitals. A cable car links the island to Manhattan, a road bridge to Queens, and a subway to both, but the presiding presence is the suspension bridge, made famous by a scene in Woody Allen’s Manhattan. For Cornell University, this joint venture with Technion - Israel Institute of Technology is a showcase of postgraduate research on the most prominent site imaginable - in contrast to its main campus in the remote north of New York State. It was important to make an impressive debut, and Weiss/Manfredi and Morphosis Architects have risen to the challenge, creating boldly modeled buildings that conduct a dialogue with each other and the bridge. And the planners have learned from the unhappy experience of Columbia and New York University, which are embedded in the city and have provoked neighborhood opposition whenever they have sought to expand. Cornell resolved to create a sense of community within and around its site. The campus grounds are open to all and residents of the densely packed towers north of the bridge are invited to share its amenities. The Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center is named for the daughters of the former New...

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