Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts - (Page 26)
Architects consider the surrounding neighborhood when planning
CCNY's new science building in Harlem - and everyone benefits
B Y L I S A DE L G A DO
za; the labs are in rectilinear volumes more toward
the perimeter. Rising five stories above the plaza
is the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC),
which is designed to foster multidisciplinary work
by researchers from the whole CUNY system in
five fields: nanoscience, photonics, structural biology, neuroscience, and environmental sciences.
Four stories above the plaza, the Center for Discovery and Innovation is a multidisciplinary science
research facility used by City College faculty and
The new building takes the place of an athletic
track, which had been used by both members of
the college and neighborhood residents. Dur©Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates/Flad Architects
n a dense city like NYC, a new academic building going up often raises
anxieties for neighborhood residents. "I think any institution that expands
in New York is seen with some measure of apprehension," says Lee Weintraub,
FASLA, principal of the landscape architecture firm Weintraub Diaz. Neighbors wonder, "What does that do to me and my community?" The architecture
and surrounding landscape of a new high-tech science building at City College
of New York (CCNY) in Harlem were designed to minimize any negative
impacts on the neighbors - and to offer a surprisingly wide range of benefits.
Open since late 2014, the glassy 399,460-gross-square-foot building is by
design architect Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) and architect-of-record
Flad Architects, with the landscape by Weintraub Diaz.
The project was long in the making, recalls KPF Director Hana Kassem,
AIA, LEED AP. It's part of a master plan that her firm and Flad Architects
began in 2004 for the college's south campus, which lies between around 130th
and 135th Streets, bounded by Convent Avenue to the west and St. Nicholas
Terrace to the east. The college is part of City University of New York (CUNY),
which was poised to begin its Decade of Science (2005-15), an initiative to improve CUNY's facilities and academic standing in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. The opening of the new science building in
late 2014 became one of the initiative's final flourishes.
From the outside, it looks like two buildings, but it's actually one building
with two low-rise "towers" connected by a shared level that's mostly underground. (A central plaza serves as an intensive green roof.) That lowest level
contains communally used equipment, such as electron microscopes, as well
as a vivarium and a clean room for nanofabrication.
The towers house office spaces in curvaceous volumes surrounding the pla-
Axon illustrates the two "towers" flanking the green-roofed plaza,
and the lawn and amphitheater, at right.
Siting the building at the edge of the campus allowed space for a bucolic lawn and a stonestepped amphitheater (here, obscured by trees) for use by academics and the community.
Oculus Spring 2016
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
1,087 Windows (and a Unique Focus) on the City
Playing a New Tune
A More Perfect Union
Social Innovation by Design
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Spring 2016 Institutional Shifts