The stars are aligning for Cornell’s proposed technology campus on Roosevelt Island. The Morphosis-designed proposal has successfully made its way through New York City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedures (ULURP), and recently won the support of Manhattan Community Board 8 and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Two remaining review processes are left, and if all goes well, Cornell will have the green light to start construction by 2014.
You can’t make a monument without breaking some eggs. Fabergé cosmetics heir Reed Rubin is protesting a decision by the board of Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park to not include a donor inscription on the Louis Kahn-designed FDR memorial. For a $2.5 million donation in honor of Rubin’s parents Vera D. and Samuel Rubin, founders of the cosmetics firm and the Reed Foundation, the foundation claims it was promised an inscription in a prominent spot (preferably near the bust of FDR on a slab facing Manhattan).
The board of the park, not wanting to compromise the monument’s design, proposed an inscription in another location in the park. Rubin and the foundation are fighting back, and had tried to postpone October’s dedication. The New York Daily News quoted a letter written by the park’s board chairman William vanden Heuvel to the foundation: “You may prevail in a courtroom. But it will be a Pyrrhic victory, dear friends, a scar not a medal on the list of your achievements.”
This morning former President Bill Clinton, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined in a dignitary-studded dedication ceremony for the long awaited Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Memorial Park on Roosevelt Island’s southern tip. The four-acre triangular park, designed by architect Louis Kahn, features 120 Linden trees leading to a half-ton bronze bust of Roosevelt at its crest surveying the U.N. Headquarters and the East River. The sculpture by American artist Jo Davidson sits on a alcove of white granite inscribed with excerpts of the president’s renowned Four Freedoms speech. While the forty-years-in-the-making memorial does not officially open to the public until October 24th you can catch an early glimpse on October 19th when the park will be featured as Archtober’s Building of The Day.
This morning Cornell University unveiled more detailed renderings of their NYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island. The latest plans for the graduate campus include a five story eco-friendly academic center designed by Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne and a campus layout by Skidmore Owings & Merrill. The roomy organization of this campus hub brings to mind the vast, expansive interiors of Silicon Valley, putting a priority on shared communal space over isolated classrooms.
In a surprise move Stanford University announced today that they are withdrawing their bid to build a tech campus on Roosevelt Island. In a statement, the university said that several weeks’ worth of negotiations prompted the Board of Trustees to determine that the East Coast expansion was not in their best interest. “We are sorry that together we could not find a way to realize our mutual goals,” wrote Stanford president John Hennessy.
The $200 million proposal with a master plan by Ennead was largely considered a front runner until this afternoon. The campus developed in a partnership with City College was to build more than 1.9 million square feet on the site now occupied by the Goldwater Hospital that would have brought housing for 200 profs and 2,000 students. While president Hennessy promised an accelerated launch—and a pledge of $1.5 bllion from a ten-year capital campaign—back in October, the plan seems to have fizzeled under pressure from students.
“I applaud the mayor’s bold vision for this transformative project and wish the city well in turning that vision into a reality,” said Hennessy. “Stanford was very excited to participate in the competition, and we were honored to be selected as a finalist. We were looking forward to an innovative partnership with the city of New York.” The San Jose Mercury News noted that “Hennessy had cautioned that unless Stanford could get guarantees that it could build what it needs to build, plans will be abandoned.”
In a flurry of statements that followed, both the city and City College looked for the silver lining. City College noted that the two institutions established a “strong on-going relationship during this process.” And Julie Wood from the mayor’s office essentially added that the show must go on. “We are in serious negotiations with several of the other applicants, each of whom has a game-changing project queued up. We look forward to announcing a winner soon.” That leaves the Cornell proposal with a team led by SOM as the only other contender for the Roosevelt Island site.