Cornell Tech’s new campus on New York City’s Roosevelt Island spans 12.5 acres, overlooking both the Manhattan and Queens skylines. James Corner Field Operations developed the open space master plan as part of SOM’s master plan team, and led the subsequent Phase 1 open space design through completion.

Active, public open spaces around the perimeter of the campus create a substantial public realm and welcomes visitors and the public in to the campus, while at the same time serving as a stormwater buffer. This perimeter leads to a series of social spaces that are programmed to foster interaction and collaboration. Together, these open spaces weave the buildings into a unique and vibrant community, providing a rich identity for this new 21st-century urban campus.

Phase 1, which opened in 2017, includes 3.5 acres of open space; Phase 2 comprises the rest of the campus to the south, which is currently a 6.5-acre interim meadow landscape. Field Operations’ planning, phasing, and design of the open space for ensures a consistent identity that is at the same time flexible for long-term development. The Phase 1 landscape includes state-of-the-art sustainability metrics, with porous pavements, storm-water gardens, native plantings, and renewable materials.