The Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus initiative will add two acres and several buildings to the existing 14-acre campus of The Rockefeller University by extending the campus over the FDR Drive. The extension, designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, will connect to the existing campus landscaping and extend four blocks along the East River. This low-profile extension of the campus is not intended as an expansion, but as a way to replace existing laboratory facilities that are no longer suited to the needs of modern bioscience, providing Rockefeller’s researchers with cutting-edge, flexible research facilities.
The Niarchos Foundation–Rockefeller River Campus project will include new buildings with state-of-the-art laboratories, a dining commons, an academic center, a conference center, and associated gardens. These amenities will further enrich the University’s highly collaborative research environment and will also provide new venues for public programs, aiding the dissemination of science to a broader audience. The University will increase its public programming by 20 percent, giving members of the wider community better access to scientific, artistic, and cultural events, including those taking place on the new campus. The project will be supporting an average of more than 100 jobs over its four-year timeline.
As part of the project, the University will also repair the seawall along the East River and improve and beautify the public esplanade adjacent to the campus for the benefit of the greater New York City community. The project has received strong support from the city council and community board, and the design of the esplanade, with new landscaping, seating, and a designated bike lane, incorporates suggestions from the community. The University is establishing a $1 million endowment to maintain the landscaping of the esplanade in perpetuity, and has contributed $150,000 to Friends of the East River Esplanade, a conservancy devoted to encouraging the restoration and renovation of the full length of the esplanade.
The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Research Building, to be constructed along the East River shoreline over the FDR Drive, will be the centerpiece of the Niarchos Foundation–Rockefeller River Campus. This building, with a long, low profile, will be two stories high and will extend almost three city blocks, providing 135,600 square feet of interior space, enough to accommodate over 600 scientific personnel. The new building will feature a green roof that will effectively add almost two acres of open space to the University’s grounds.
The Kravis Research Building design features an open plan offering flexibility for the changing needs of researchers. By eliminating the interior structural columns and mechanical shafts found in most older buildings, the design will allow laboratory layouts in the new building to be modified to serve new research requirements. The building will link seamlessly with other buildings on campus, including the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Community Life, the Collaborative Research Center, and the Rockefeller University Hospital, and will unify north and south campuses. The building’s open, flexible floor plan and close integration with other buildings on campus are designed to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among Rockefeller’s researchers.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation–David Rockefeller River Campus project was launched in November 2014 by two leadership pledges of $75 million each from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and from David Rockefeller.
The Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Foundation pledged $100 million in May 2015 to support the creation of the research building.
Work on the Niarchos Foundation–Rockefeller River Campus project and Kravis Research Building will begin in fall 2015 and will be completed in 2019.