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Tata Innovation Center at Cornell Tech

Envisioned as a crystalline incubator, the Tata Innovation Center establishes a catalytic setting for research and innovation.

The Tata Innovation Center is designed to leverage the resources of a major university with the world's leading technology-focused companies. The seven-story building, developed by Forest City New York, supports Cornell Tech's efforts to fuse entrepreneurial and academic ambitions on its new Roosevelt Island campus in New York City. 

Envisioned as a crystalline incubator, the Tata Innovation Center establishes a catalytic setting for research and innovation. One-third of the 235,000-square-foot building hosts Cornell Tech studios, labs, classrooms, and event spaces, while the upper levels are dedicated to a mix of technology-focused companies and start-ups. All of the occupants share central, light-filled circulation spaces with panoramic skyline views and lounges that encourage social interaction and collaboration. The building's cantilevered southwest and northeast wings shelter outdoor social spaces that animate the ground floor retail spaces and entry terrace.

Anticipating environmental challenges such as rising sea levels and increased flood risk, the Tata Innovation Center is designed for maximum resilience with an entry floor that rises seven feet above the 100-year flood plain. A canopy featuring 24,000 square feet of solar panels shelters the building's landscaped roof terrace and defines its silhouette, further signaling the campus-wide commitment to sustainability.

The Tata Innovation Center defines a new programmatic typology in which academic researchers and professional start-ups share the same space, forging vital connections between industry and academia.

"Airy labs and classrooms cascade toward a central staircase. Glass abounds, flooding the interiors with daylight that, even on a gloomy day, pierces to the heart of the building and connects the views on one side with those on the other.”

Justin Davidson, New York Magazine

While the building's exterior appears to be completely transparent, it is 60 percent opaque and 40 percent transparent—a ratio considered to be the "sweet spot" for sustainable design. 

The dramatic cantilevered wings facing northeast and southwest, strategically designed in consideration of rising sea levels and the site's vulnerable position, lift the building off the ground to shelter outdoor spaces.

"Tata Innovation Center on Roosevelt Island, part of the Cornell Tech campus, is only six stories tall, but it has a lobby bigger than the Empire State Building’s, a glass-enclosed atrium with stepped seating terraces. These spaces, which in the case of the Cornell Tech building also include wider-than-normal stairways and a large roof terrace, provide literal breathing room.”

Fred Bernstein, The Wall Street Journal

"Weiss/Manfredi are interested in negotiating the divide between individual and communal work, between solitude for contemplation and the sense of belonging to a community.”

Barry Bergdoll, Casabella

The building's cantilevered southwest and northeast wings shelter outdoor social spaces that animate the ground floor retail spaces and entry terrace.

The building's landscaped rooftop terrace provides a space with stunning, expansive views for various functions and events.

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