Monday, June 15, 2015

Ground Broken at Cornell Tech's Roosevelt Island Campus

Now that ground has been broken on Cornell Tech's 26-story ‘Passive House’ residential tower on Roosevelt Island, developer Forest City Ratner has unveiled details for the school buildings that will rise in the first phase of construction. Phase one, which will cost $800 million, includes the 26-story Passive House student housing building, The Bridge (a start-up incubator), and the first academic building. Phase I is expected to be completed in time for the Fall 2017 semester.
Passive House is a 270,000 square foot residential tower designed by Handel Architects that will soon rise on Cornell Tech's 12-acre mega-campus on Roosevelt Island.

The tower, which will reach 270 feet adjacent to the Queensboro Bridge, will be the tallest structure on the campus, as well as the tallest Passive House in the world.

Passive House is a sustainable building standard that reduces both energy consumption and costs using advanced insulation and ventilation techniques, making the building airtight and creating "a giant thermos."

That means the building is able to maintain a comfortable interior climate without active heating or cooling systems, through the use of a ventilator system that exchanges indoor and outdoor air.

The $115 million tower will have 350 residential units, housing mostly graduate students. The building will also appear to 'shimmer' through the use of a special paint that, "when reflecting light, naturally shifts color from silver to warm champagne." 

Another team, from Morphosis Architects, is designing the first academic building, which will include classrooms, labs, and collaborative educational spaces. The trapezoidal building will feature a central core that aligns with 57th Street on the Manhattan Street grid.

A vast super structure will support a giant solar array, which will allow the building to produce as much energy as its occupants consume.The solar array will generate 1.8 megawatts at daily peak -- the largest such array in New York City.

A four-acre geothermal well field -- composed of deep-earth wells -- exceeds any current geothermal heating system in New York City.

Weiss/Manfredi Architecture is designing 'The Bridge', a seven-story hybrid educational and commercial incubator building on the Queens facing side of the island. It will contain spaces for research and development projects for industry and the academy. It too features a large rooftop solar array and is aiming for net-zero energy use.

The school is also prepared to lessen any danger of flooding. Even before Superstorm Sandy, the team planning the Cornell-Technion campus had planned to create higher ground on which to build.

The developer plans to construct all of the campus buildings at least 19 feet above sea level after studying the 100-year flood plain.

After the storm, Cornell re-thought the positioning of equipment and decided to move it up from the basement level, and strategies have been put in place to retain all storm water onsite.

Passive House is scheduled to be completed in 2017, and will open along with Phase I of the Cornell Tech campus. All campus buildings will seek to achieve LEED Silver status.

The mega project has the goal of creating a sustainable, carbon neutral facility, and strategies are being put in place to create a 'net-zero energy' complex.

The rest of the $2 billion campus, to be built in the next two decades, will eventually encompass 2 million square feet of housing, office, and academic space for over 2,000 people.

The building’s energy consumption is anticipated be 60 percent to 70 percent less than that of conventional high-rises. The total carbon dioxide savings will total 882 tons per year, which is the equivalent of planting 5,300 new trees.

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