a new home for the entrepreneurial spirit of new york city
snøhetta completed a pair of buildings, forming an ample welcoming entrance for new york city’s cornell tech campus. the duo —the graduate roosevelt island hotel and verizon executive education center— is independently operated but physically connected through a planted courtyard. the overall design consists of the conference center spaning 3,390 sqm (36,500 sqft) and the 18-story hotel tower that accommodates 196 rooms.all images by michael grimm
two buildings linked by shared courtyard
the design team at snøhetta formed a V-shaped column structure inviting passers-by to a ground-level bar overlooking the shared plaza. the bar is topped by a curved soffit that continues to link the two buildings, creating a visual play with each catching and reflecting sunlight. meanwhile, transparent glass panels clad the ground level, slightly unveiling the interior spaces and fading the boundaries between inside and outside. aluminum façade panels gentle wrap around the 18-story hotel tower, that are complemented by the vertically oriented wood louvers that encircle the four-storey conference center.
‘from the beginning this was a unique experience because we got to design two buildings at once. although each program and each client required a distinctive expression, the buildings ultimately work in partnership and are integrated within the larger cornell tech campus. as we worked through the design, we found that creating a unified base wrapping a shared courtyard offered the best way to bring together the two projects while also providing a functional podium supporting the individual use of each building. what results is a study in contrasts linked by public space: the hotel, tall and slender, uses the public realm to connect with the veec, which is low and soft by comparison,’ michael cotton, snøhetta director and senior architect, explains.
supporting the public life of cornell tech
the conference center hosts a large reconfigurable banquet hall and four multi-purpose classroom spaces to the site, each one oriented in axis with views of the campus and city. as for the interior, the design team opted for a warm and homely palette of colors and materials. a system of vertical aluminum louvers frame views opening towards the center, highlighting cornell tech’s proximity to the city’s urban core.
a primary pedestrian path runs along with the two volumes —informally dubbed the tech walk— uniting the buildings to a series of open spaces located throughout the site. the shared courtyard invites students, hotel guests and passers-by to meet and interact.