Cornell Tech Campus Opens on Roosevelt Island, Marking Transformational Milestone for Tech in NYC
NEW YORK CITY – Cornell Tech today celebrated the official opening of its campus on Roosevelt Island with a dedication event attended by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Cornell University President Martha Pollack, Technion President Peretz Lavie and Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher. Cornell Tech is the first campus ever built for the digital age, bringing together academia and industry to create pioneering leaders and transformational new research, products, companies and social ventures. Today marks the opening of the first phase of the Roosevelt Island campus, which features some of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient buildings in the world.
In 2011, Cornell Tech was named the winner of Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Administration’s visionary Applied Sciences Competition, designed with the goal of diversifying the economy and creating a national hub for tech. The project, managed by the City’s Economic Development Corporation, has been carried forward by the de Blasio administration, with the campus breaking ground in 2015. The City estimated in 2011 that the new campus would generate up to 8,000 permanent jobs, hundreds of spin-off companies and more than $23 billion in economic activity over a period of 35 years. The campus is built on 12 acres of City land.
“With the opening of Cornell Tech, Cornell University, in partnership with the Technion, is defining a new model for graduate education -- a model that melds cutting-edge research and education with entrepreneurship and real world application,” said Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack. “We are so grateful to the City of New York for offering us a chance to launch this venture, to the many other partners who have helped bring us to this day, and to Mayor de Blasio and his administration for their continued commitment and support. Today marks the beginning of a new era of opportunity not only for Cornell and the tech campus, but also for New York City, the state and the world.”
“Today’s Cornell Tech campus opening marks the beginning of a new chapter in the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute’s ongoing work to foster innovation in New York and beyond,” said Professor Peretz Lavie, President of Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. “In partnership with Cornell, we’ve developed a model of graduate-level technology education that is unlike any other – one that’s tailor-made not only for New York City but for the challenges of the digital revolution.”
“Thanks to our investments to foster key industries, create good-paying jobs, and attract top talent, New York is the center of the world for finance, advertising, media, the arts and international commerce, but we are still building our reputation as an internationally-recognized hub of cutting-edge science and technology. By harnessing the engineering expertise of Cornell and the entrepreneurial spirit of Technion, Cornell Tech’s new campus will strengthen New York’s future competitiveness and produce innovations that will change the world,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“As we work to keep New York City a leader in the 21st Century economy, we celebrate the opening of the Cornell Tech campus and the opportunities it opens up for our city and our people. I am proud to welcome our newest leading educational institution, which will become a tremendous catalyst for our tech sector. We won’t stop here. Through Computer Science for All, the Tech Talent Pipeline and the new Union Square Tech Hub, we are building on the progress Mayor Bloomberg set in motion, and helping more New Yorkers become a part of this extraordinary success story,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"Cornell Tech is an investment in the future of New York City — a future that belongs to the generations to come, and the students here will help build it. Technological innovation played a central role in New York City becoming a global economic capital – and it must continue to play a central role for New York to remain a global economic capital. The companies and innovations spawned by Cornell Tech graduates will generate jobs for people across the economic spectrum and help our city compete with tech centers around the world, from Silicon Valley to Seoul,” said Mike Bloomberg.
“I’m thrilled that the Cornell Tech campus is finally opening on Roosevelt Island,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.“With its proximity to Manhattan and to industrial space in Western Queens, Roosevelt Island is the perfect setting for an educational institution, which is which is why I worked hard to ensure that it was selected when the City was considering locations for the new applied science campus. Cornell Tech will help us diversify our economic base and bring jobs through new startups. A New York school generates New York businesses and employs New Yorkers. As students are welcomed to the new campus, we know this is just the beginning – and that the future for this institution will be bright.”
“Cornell Tech will create the leaders of tomorrow, bringing the brightest minds in the field of technology to Roosevelt Island. The digital age has not only improved the efficiency and productivity at the workplace, but created competitive high-paying salaries and stable jobs that keep overall unemployment rates lower. Cornell Tech is ahead of the curve by providing academic programs and training that will make this a world-renowned institution,” said Assembly Member Rebecca A. Seawright.
"The new Cornell Tech campus is a wonderful addition to Roosevelt Island and will continue to propel New York City as a leader in technology and innovation. Not only will this state of the art campus generate thousands of permanent jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity over the next 30 years, but is also environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Many thanks to Cornell Tech and all of my colleagues in government and on Roosevelt Island that helped to complete this special project,” said New York State Senator José M. Serrano.
“This milestone is a game-changer – and this campus is a New York City gem. As it prepares students for jobs of the future today, Cornell Tech will keep our city competitive in emerging industries tomorrow. This transformative project truly cements New York City as a global tech hub, and it illustrates what happens when government, academia, and industry all work together. Every stakeholder in this project should be exceptionally proud,” said Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.
"As our world becomes more tech-centered, the Cornell Tech campus will allow New York City to be at the heart of the innovation, leadership -- and most importantly, jobs -- in this space. This campus will bring academics, research and business together and educate the bright minds of our future. I look forward to seeing all that Cornell Tech has to offer our City, and to working with Cornell Tech to ensure that New Yorkers from every corner of our City benefit from this world-class institution," said Public Advocate Letitia James.
"Cornell Tech is a tremendous boost to New York's growing tech community and a welcome addition to our city's pantheon of world-class academic institutions," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "It's been thrilling to watch the campus' buildings rise on Roosevelt Island and to see the community partnerships this institution has already made possible.”
“The dedication of the Cornell Tech campus is an incredible achievement for New York City that has been almost seven years in the making,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Not only does the addition of this institution enhance an already impressive slate of educational offerings, but its presence brings New York City’s drive for innovation to the cutting edge. I look forward to the thousands of students and faculty who will bring their research and insights to the five boroughs, and I am proud of the partnership between Cornell, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and the New York City Council that saw about $300,000 allocated toward making this dream a reality.”
“The opening of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island is a victory for Western Queens and New York City that will create jobs and reassert the region as a global leader in tech and innovation,” said City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “Just one stop on the F train to Western Queens, the proximity of the new campus and tech incubator to Western Queens will be beneficial for the people of my district and for the students of Cornell Tech looking to start new businesses. With unmatched resources for small businesses, including a diverse and talented workforce, Long Island City will be a natural place for new tech businesses to call home, develop breakthroughs, and create jobs. I thank all involved in this historic project for their good work and look forward to working closely with our new neighbor, Cornell Tech.”
“Tech now has a new home in New York City on Roosevelt Island at Cornell Tech. We are growing jobs and educating the next leaders of the tech economy right here on Roosevelt Island so the next big thing in tech will be 'Made in New York,” said City Council Member Ben Kallos, a tech entrepreneur. “Welcome to Cornell Tech, Dean Dan Huttenlocher and thank you to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the vision, Mayor de Blasio and RIOC President Susan Rosenthal for making it happen, and the Roosevelt Island community for being a part of this every step of the way. I look forward to working with Cornell Tech on bringing millions in investment to growing companies on Roosevelt Island and in New York City.”
Academic Program & Research
Cornell Tech started up in a temporary space generously provided by Google and has already graduated more than 300 masters and doctoral students, with most entering the New York City tech sector after graduation by joining local companies or starting their own. Masters students across all programs -- computer science, law, business, electrical engineering, operations research, connective media and health tech -- spend time learning and working collaboratively together in a Studio curriculum with extensive engagement with the tech industry. The projects students pursue in the Studio encourage them to practice entrepreneurship, product design, tech and public policy, management and other skills, helping them graduate with tangible, marketable experience and a portfolio of completed work that will help launch their career.
Cornell Tech’s 30-member faculty has launched cutting-edge research groups in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction and Social Computing, Security and Privacy, Artificial Intelligence, Data and Modeling, and Business, Law and Policy. All of the faculty have a focus on applied research and having a real world impact.
“We are entering a new era for tech in New York, and the Cornell Tech campus is at the heart of it. Cornell Tech was given the rare opportunity to create a campus and academic program from scratch. The opening of our new campus brings together academic disciplines critical to the digital transformation of society and the economy, together with companies, early stage investors, and government to spark innovation and help improve the lives of people throughout the City, country and world,” said Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Huttenlocher.
“Cornell Tech is a natural 21st-century expression of Cornell University’s founding principles,” said Robert S. Harrison, chairman of the Cornell University Board of Trustees. “The new campus is both completely transformative – and completely consistent with our values and our mission to pursue knowledge with a public purpose. While Ithaca remains the heart of the university, we serve New Yorkers through outreach and engagement in all 62 counties of New York state and have been deeply integrated in New York City for more than a century. The innovative programs at Cornell Tech affirm our institution’s vision, enhance our land-grant mission, and reflect the spirit of all Cornellians.”
The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech is a unique academic partnership of two leading global universities, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Cornell. The Institute houses the Health Tech and Connective Media programs, where students receive dual degrees from Cornell and the Technion, and the Jacobs Runway Startup Postdoc program for recent tech PhDs.The Runway program has been responsible for about half of the more than 30 companies that have spun out of the Cornell Tech campus with more than $20 million in funds raised and employing more than 100 people.
“The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a cornerstone of Cornell Tech, combining Cornell’s commitment to discovery with Technion’s global leadership in applied research and entrepreneurship. From our dual masters degree programs, to our groundbreaking faculty research, to the innovative companies spinning out of the Jacobs Runway Startup Postdoc program, our partnership and impact will grow on our new campus. Through the Jacobs Institute, Cornell Tech and New York City as a whole will always be on the leading edge, experimenting with novel ways to educate, discover, and innovate,” said Ron Brachman, Director of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute.
“By steering students through Cornell Tech, and its soon-to-come Verizon Executive Education Center, we can build students and business people into lifelong learners and inspire them to be more innovative and impactful leaders. Our investment in Cornell Tech, is a testament of our belief that technology can be a transforming force in our society. This unique institution will be a model for the future and a shining example of how to solve big challenges and make people’s lives better,” said Lowell McAdam, Chairman and CEO of Verizon.
"Even without a permanent campus, Cornell Tech has already established a proven track record of developing innovative companies and top tier talent here in New York City. Now in its beautiful new home on Roosevelt Island, Cornell Tech immediately establishes itself as one of New York's premier tech institutions—helping us attract and retain the technical talent and companies our industry needs to grow and thrive,” said Julie Samuels, Executive Director of Tech:NYC.
Cornell Tech’s mission of collaboration and innovation is reflected in the physical design of its Roosevelt Island campus. It is a new type of urban campus that provides space to think, but is also integrated—in both mission and design—with the city. The campus master plan was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and includes a number of innovative features and facilities across a river-to-river campus with expansive views, a series of green, public spaces and a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor areas. The campus has some of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient buildings in the world.
“We felt strongly that the framework should stimulate invention — both architectural and scientific. We designed a campus framework that would encourage the creative process now and into the future, flexibly accommodating a growing and evolving institution,” said Colin Koop, Senior Designer on project and a Director at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.
The first phase of the campus includes:
The Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center is the first academic building on campus. Cornell University received a $100 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2014 for the campus. Designed by Morphosis Architects under the direction of Pritzker-Prize winner Thom Mayne and Principal Ung-Joo Scott Lee, the building is a departure from traditional academic facilities with a variety of spaces designed to support different learning modes, including flexible spaces to encourage collaboration as well as private work spaces, adapting open plan offices from the tech world to the academic arena. The Bloomberg Center aspires to be among the largest net-zero energy buildings in the United States, with all of its power generated on campus through a variety of site-specific strategies to reduce energy demand and use renewable energy. The art-in-architecture is also a key component of the Bloomberg Center, with newly commissioned works throughout the building by artists Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Riedel, Matthew Ritchie and Matthew Day Jackson. It also features a space designed specifically to house a Works Projects Administration (WPA) Federal Art Project mural by Ilya Bolotowsky from the decommissioned Goldwater Memorial Hospital previously on the Cornell Tech site as well as a ground-floor cafe that is open to the public.
“The aim of Cornell Tech to create an urban center for interdisciplinary research and innovation is very much in line with our vision at Morphosis, where we are constantly developing new ways to achieve ever more sustainable buildings and to spark greater connections among the people who use our buildings. With the Bloomberg Center, we’ve pushed the boundaries of current energy efficiency practices and set a new standard for building development in New York City,” said Morphosis founder and design director Thom Mayne.
The Bridge, designed by WEISS/MANFREDI and developed by Forest City New York, is a first-of-its-kind building where an extraordinary mix of cutting-edge companies from diverse industries will have the opportunity to work alongside groundbreaking Cornell academic teams: from recent Cornell Tech graduates hustling to commercialize a new idea, to start-ups on the verge of explosive growth and established companies developing leading edge technologies and products. The building features gathering areas on each level, including a light-filled, multi-level Tech Gallery and a rooftop terrace sheltered by a solar trellis. Tech and investment firm Two Sigma is opening a Collision Lab in the building where engineers from its R&D team will tackle difficult challenges away from the company’s main campus, and where innovative start-ups backed by Two Sigma Ventures can thrive in an intense, productive and creative environment. Citigroup is taking space to engage with Cornell University students, faculty, researchers, and startups to work on emerging technologies such as blockchain, machine learning and big data applications, biometric authentication, Internet of Things, and cyber security. Ferrero International S.A., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chocolates, is taking space for its Open Innovation Science division to explore digital age innovation in the food industry.
“By bringing academia and industry together under one roof at The Bridge, we are driving innovation and economic growth for New York,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO of Forest City New York. “The Bridge is welcoming an incredible mix of companies who want to work alongside some of the top tech talent New York City has to offer, and get a competitive advantage to bring their ideas and new products to market.”
“The building is a crystalline social condenser, one that reveals expansive skyline views and creates spaces for academics and entrepreneurs to slow down, talk to one another, and generate ideas in unprecedented ways,” said Marion Weiss and Michael A. Manfredi, co-founders of WEISS/MANFREDI.
The House, designed by Handel Architects and developed by The Hudson Companies and Related Companies, is the tallest and largest residential Passive House high-rise in the world. Passive House is the strict international building standard that drastically reduces energy consumption while creating a healthier and more comfortable living environment for a fraction of residents’ usual energy costs. Cornell faculty, staff and students live at The House, giving the campus 24/7 activity.
"We are very excited to bring this first of its kind building to the New York City market. We have been humbled to be a part of this amazing campus, working with an incredible team of architects, engineers and contractors,” said David Kramer, President of The Hudson Companies. “We hope that The House can serve as a model for other developments to continue to build big, build more sustainably and push the (super sealed) envelope.”
“The opening of the Cornell Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island is a historic moment for New York, and would not have been possible without the vision and foresight of the City and the State. This new campus will serve as a hub for technological innovation and will be a tremendous addition to New York City,” said Related Companies CEO Jeff Blau. “We are proud to have partnered with Hudson Companies and Cornell on ‘The House’, likely the most sustainable residential tower to ever be built, and to have played a role in making this great project a reality."
“The House is a groundbreaking example of sustainable architecture -- the largest and tallest Passive House building in the world. It's our answer to the call for change to combat global warming,” said Gary Handel, President of Handel Architects.
The open space, designed by James Corner Field Operations, anchors the campus, fostering collaboration and innovation while simultaneously inviting the public into the campus. The campus is a river-to-river experience, engaging Roosevelt Island’s esplanade and extraordinary water frontage while maximizing views of Manhattan and Queens. The heart of Phase 1’s 3.5 acres of open space is the Campus Plaza, a multi-use central gathering space that can accommodate larger events. Connected to the Plaza is the quarter-mile long Tech Walk, a central spine that features a series of active and social spaces that are linked by pedestrian pathways. Throughout the campus, outdoor and indoor spaces are synergistically connected to allow people to move easily and comfortably in and out during the course of the day. The open space features comprehensive resilient design, including rain harvesting for irrigation, subterranean gravel trenches that hold and slow down stormwater; a series of bio-filtration gardens that treat stormwater runoff non-mechanically before it enters the river; and a geothermal field that provides energy to The Bloomberg Center.
“With Cornell Tech’s new campus, we have been able to integrate technology, sustainability, and landscape architecture to create a unique urban campus,” said Karen Tamir, James Corner Field Operations’ Principal-in-Charge. “Each of the open spaces work together to provide settings for students, faculty, staff and visitors to sit, talk and collaborate, creating a lively, welcoming, and social environment.”
“On behalf of the Roosevelt Island Community, I am excited to welcome Cornell Tech and the promise of innovation it brings to the Island, the State and the world. Cornell will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the quality of life here, bringing together talented and diverse young entrepreneurs with our active and inquisitive residents,” said Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.
Later this fall, Cornell Tech will begin construction on the Verizon Executive Education Center and Graduate Roosevelt Island Hotel, targeted for opening in 2019, providing a venue for academic conferences, executive programs and academic workshops.
When fully completed over the next few decades, the 12-acre campus will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff.
NYC Ferry service to Roosevelt Island began in August, bringing more New York City neighborhoods within reach of the campus.
Commitment to Community: Building a More Diverse and Inclusive Tech Talent Pipeline
Cornell Tech is committed to having an impact beyond its campus, and to build and diversify New York City’s tech talent pipeline so that more people can share in the rapid growth of the tech economy. Fulfilling its promise to New York City to spur K-12 tech education, the campus has partnered with more than a dozen local schools, including PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island, and is coordinating professional development opportunities for teachers to gain experience in incorporating tech thinking into their teaching. To date, Cornell Tech has impacted over 5,000 students and 350 teachers. Cornell Tech is also committed to building and diversifying the base of the technology talent in New York City. In partnership with CUNY and many tech companies in the city, Cornell Tech’s Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York (WiTNY) program provides the access, incentives and support needed for girls and women to succeed in the tech industry. To date, the curriculum has been implemented at more than a dozen CUNY campuses with 2,000 students impacted each year.
New York City Applied Sciences Competition
Cornell Tech was founded when the partnership of Cornell University and the Technion were selected in December of 2011 as one of the winners of New York City’s visionary Applied Sciences NYC initiative, created under Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Robert Steel. The Economic Development Corporation, then led by Seth Pinsky, sought proposals for a university or partnership to develop and operate a new or expanded campus in the City in exchange for City capital, access to City-owned land and the full support and partnership of City government. Cornell Tech’s proposal was selected ahead of submissions from 17 world-class institutions from around the globe. The Cornell Tech proposal was selected by the City as the first winner of the competition and was provided with land on Roosevelt Island and $100 million in City capital to build the $2 billion, 2 million square foot tech campus.
About Cornell Tech
Cornell Tech brings together faculty, business leaders, tech entrepreneurs and students in a catalytic environment to produce visionary results grounded in significant needs that will reinvent the way we live in the digital age. The Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute embodies the academic partnership between the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Cornell University on the Cornell Tech campus.
From 2012-2017, the campus was temporarily located in Google’s New York City building. In fall 2017, 30 world-class faculty and about 300 graduate students moved to the first phase of Cornell Tech’s permanent campus on Roosevelt Island, continuing to conduct groundbreaking research, collaborate extensively with tech-oriented companies and organizations and pursue their own startups. When fully completed, the campus will include two million square feet of state-of-the-art buildings, over two acres of open space, and will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff.
About Cornell University
Cornell University is a world-class research institution known for the breadth and rigor of its curricula, and an academic culture dedicated to preparing students to be well-educated and well-rounded citizens of the world. Its faculty, staff and students believe in the critical importance of knowledge—both theoretical and applied—as a means of improving the human condition and solving the world’s problems. With campuses in Ithaca, New York, New York City, and Doha, Qatar, Cornell is a private, Ivy League research university and the land-grant institution of New York state.