MNLA MNLA

Northerly, 6m/h wind. Temperature 76°F. Humidity 73%.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation-David Rockefeller River Campus at The Rockefeller University

Urban Land Institute 2021 Award Winner, Excellence in Institutional Development

Sectors

Campuses, Connections, Waterfront

Service

Landscape Architecture

Client

Rockefeller University

Location

New York, NY

Status

Complete

Completion

2019

Site Area

1.4 acres

Architect

Rafael Vinoly Architects

Seeking to remain the world’s leading biomedical research institution, this new laboratory building situated over the FDR Drive offers its scholars state-of-the-art research facilities. The three-block long building presents an incredible landscape design opportunity: the addition of more than 1.4 acres of new open space to a constrained campus that now engages its riverfront location and affords scientists respite and a place for dialogue.

MNLA took inspiration from Dan Kiley’s inward-facing campus design to create a contemporary, outward-facing prospect to the river. The landscape frames both expansive and intimate views. Glass railings maximize transparency and connect the rooftop to the water below, which for the first time becomes an integral part of the campus experience. By championing a sustainable approach on the lab’s roof and the one acre of public esplanade below, the two projects combine to contribute significant ecosystem services to the community.

Native species form a lush landscape of texture and movement attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Reflective pavements ensure that the rooftop does not contribute to the heat island effect. Absorptive planters filter rainwater adding over a half of an acre of permeability.

Designed with community input, Rockefeller University established an endowment to maintain this landscape in perpetuity. Together, these new landscapes create a new, majestic addition to the New York City skyline.

The River Campus landscape takes its design cues from the historic Dan Kiley landscape while expressing open views to the East River.

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