Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts - (Page 24)

©Rafael Viñoly Architects feature A Win-Win at Rockefeller University With its new research center being constructed over the FDR Drive, the university adds two acres to its private campus while advancing the public realm B Y J A N E T A DA M S S TRO N G R ockefeller University is one of the world's foremost centers of biomedical research, fundamentally committed to the scientific ideal of following wherever curiosity leads. It has no traditional academic departments, no administrative bureaucracy (lab heads report directly to the university president), and nothing to deter the faculty's Nobel Prize laureates and their genius colleagues and students from open exploration. As the university planned for the new century, challenges were raised by neighbors who wanted access to the gated campus, located along the East River between 63rd and 68th Streets, in the especially hardscaped Upper East Side hospital district. But in time, with remarkable urbanity, the community came to realize that free public access to the private campus (and all the security issues involved) would subvert the environment on which open scientific inquiry depends and undermine the very qualities that make Rockefeller University unique. Deferring to the greater good, residents instead worked with the university on major improvements along the East River, including rehabilitation of the seawall, a richly landscaped public esplanade, and a new eightfoot-high sound barrier to significantly reduce existing traffic noise from the FDR Drive. "We worked closely with the community and they came up with a lot of good suggestions," says George Candler, Rockefeller University associate vice president for planning and construction. "It was a rewarding experience." The end result is that the private university will retain its integrity while significantly advancing the public realm. Win-win. Guiding the university in the development of a new master plan is Rafael Viñoly Architects (RVA), brought in on the strength of the firm's extensive laboratory and campus experience, with landscape architect Mathews Nielsen. "To us," explains RVA Vice President Jay Bargmann, AIA, "it's a very gray 24 Oculus Spring 2016 area between what's a building and what's a master plan." It's not a series of flow charts and diagrams, but "something really integrated that says what you should do and how it might look. If you get right down to it, a successful master plan is a building." Chief among the university's requirements was new research space. Cutting-edge facilities are "absolutely critical to get the best and brightest faculty and students in the world," explains Timothy O'Conner, chief-of-staff and vice president for University Strategy and Research Operations. To find a suitable expansion site on the constrained campus, RVA's team investigated various options: a new landside construction along the west (which would have cut off the campus from the city), a pair of north/south "bookends" (which would have further polarized the long, linear campus), and a tower (visually disruptive and spatially constricting). They focused quickly on development over the FDR Drive, air rights for which had been secured in 1972 as a safeguard against institutional growth into the neighborhood. The solution involves a two-story, three-block-long, 160,000-square-foot laboratory building with offices, conference space, and communal dining contained within a bridge-like structure that will run atop the FDR. The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building will plug into existing infrastructure and link existing university buildings through multiple entrances, making it a vital shared facility in a more tightly unified whole. From York Avenue, ascending the natural bluff that overlooks the river, the campus will extend seamlessly east on the green roof of the new building, adding a very significant two acres of land to the existing 14-acre campus. Open, interactive environments being at the core of modern research, the new construction facilitates the cross-pollination Institutional Shifts

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts

Letter from the President
Letter from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: The Intersection of Technology and Walkability
The Challenges of Expansion
A Win-Win at Rockefeller University
Course Requirements
1,087 Windows (and a Unique Focus) on the City
Tech Time
Playing a New Tune
A More Perfect Union
Social Innovation by Design
In Print
117-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts