The Tata Innovation Center is a first-of-its-kind building that houses an extraordinary mix of cutting-edge companies working alongside groundbreaking academic teams: from recent graduates hustling to commercialize a new idea, to start-ups on the verge of explosive growth, and established companies developing pioneering technologies and products.
One-third of the seven-story, 235,000-square-foot building hosts Cornell Tech studios, labs, classrooms, and event spaces, while the upper levels are dedicated to a mix of technology-focused companies and start-ups. All of the occupants share central, light-filled circulation spaces with lounges that encourage social interaction and collaboration.
Upon entry, a centrally-located Tech Gallery with generously proportioned wood stairs and terraced lounges brings a sense of warmth into the light-filled lobby and encourages interaction between academics and entrepreneurs. A multi-purpose event space at entry level can accommodate up to 100 people and frames an expansive view of the Queensboro Bridge. A Master Studio with tiered seating supports a variety of learning activities including individual study, informal lectures, and team-based collaboration. Eight labs throughout the building provide students and future occupants with the latest fabrication, electronic, and robotics technologies, and classrooms featuring tiered seating for up to 90 people encourage interaction and discussion between students and faculty.
An accessible rooftop sheltered by a solar energy-generating canopy provides an outdoor gathering point and event space for the building’s tenants. Retail spaces activate the ground-floor level and encourage interaction between the building’s occupants and the larger urban community.
The geometry of the Tata Innovation Center is shaped to ensure that all occupants can enjoy natural daylight, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting – the highest consumer of energy for most buildings. Although the building’s crystalline exterior appears to be completely transparent, the enclosure is actually 60% opaque and 40% transparent – a ratio considered to be the “sweet spot” for sustainable design. The curtain wall is comprised of thermally efficient, transparent units and highly insulated, opaque shadow box units. Together, they appear as a continuous surface through the use of a subtle, reflective glass coating which reduces heat gain and contributes to its energy efficiency. The chameleon-like façade captures fluctuating light conditions, reflects the surrounding urban landscape, and reveals panoramic skyline views of Manhattan and Queens.
Anticipating environmental challenges such as rising sea levels and increased flood risk, the Tata Innovation Center is designed for maximum resilience with an entry floor that rises seven feet above the 100-year flood plain. A canopy featuring 24,000 square feet of solar panels shelters the building's landscaped roof terrace and defines its silhouette, also contributing to the campus-wide energy supply and Bloomberg Center’s net-zero goal. Envisioned as a crystalline incubator, the Tata Innovation Center establishes a catalytic setting for research and innovation.
United States of America
Cornell Tech and Forest City New York
Design Partners: Marion Weiss, FAIA and Michael A. Manfredi, FAIA Project Manager: Mike Harshman, AIA Project Architects: Joe Vessell, RA; Pierre Hoppenot, RA Project Team: Heather McArthur, Sergio Saucedo, Catherine Qi Competition Team: Todd Hoehn; Lee Lim; Andrew Ruggles; Joe Vessell
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti MEP/FP Engineers: Jaros, Baum & Bolles Glazing: Heintges Lighting: Renfro Design Group Acoustics: ARUP AVIT / Security: ARUP; Jaros, Baum & Bolles
(C)Albert Vecerka/Esto OR Iwan Baan
WEISS/MANFREDI is a multidisciplinary design firm in New York City known for its dynamic integration of architecture, art, infrastructure, and landscape design. Founded by Marion Weiss and Michael A. Manfredi, their projects include the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, the University of Pennsylvania’s Nanotechnology Center, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center, Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park, and the Barnard College Diana Center. They are currently redesigning the United States Embassy campus in New Delhi, India and are designing a new tower for innovative technological research on the University of Toronto’s campus. WEISS/MANFREDI has won numerous awards and their work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Venice Biennale, the Louvre, and the Guggenheim Museum.